Despite promises of transparency, HPD’s new chief sworn in secretly
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Arthur “Joe” Logan was sworn in secretly Tuesday as HPD’s new chief, in an unusual decision that’s likely to raise eyebrows amid calls for the department to improve its public image and commit to transparency.
HNN first learned about the swearing-in on Tuesday morning through police sources.
Hawaii News Now also confirmed that the mayor was not at the ceremony and members of command staff didn’t even know it was happening. Keith Horikawa and Rade Vanic, the former acting HPD chief, were also sworn in Tuesday as deputy chiefs.
In an email, an HPD spokesperson characterized the secret swearing-in as needed to “get them started.”
“There will be an actual ceremony at the end of the month. The ceremony will be open to the media,” the email said.
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi issued a statement, saying he found out about Tuesday’s swearing-in at the last minute.
“While I was in the Honolulu City Council chamber this morning for a presentation on housing and homelessness, I was informed that incoming Honolulu Police Chief Arthur ‘Joe’ Logan was about to be sworn in,” Blangiardi said.
“While I was surprised to receive this information, I sincerely congratulate Chief Logan and look forward to attending his formal swearing-in ceremony later this month.”
The Honolulu Police Department publicly announced the swearing-in about 2:10 p.m. on its social media pages.
Hawaii News Now has been asking the department for weeks about when Logan will be sworn in given the length of time HPD has been without a permanent chief ― and because of ongoing questions about the agency’s performance.
Onlookers questioned the decision to hold a secret swearing-in, saying it was simply unnecessary.
“You’re talking about the chief of police of a major metropolitan police department, it’s a big deal,” said retired HPD Deputy Chief John McCarthy.
“This goes right to the heart of transparency.”
Previous HPD Chief Susan Ballard had a very public swearing-in back in 2017.
Police Commission chair Shannon Alivado said there was no effort to hide the swearing-in Tuesday morning, but admits it was rushed.
“This was, in no way intended to be secretive, it was a way to expedite his onboarding and get him started and working,” Alivado said, adding the commissioners were given about an hour and a half notice that it was going to be taking place “because the medical clearance was received this morning.”
But McCarthy said even if there’s nothing to hide, the secrecy sends the wrong message.
“It’s just common sense,” said Robert Cavaco, President of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers.
“We at SHOPO didn’t even know that numbers 1, 2, and 3 were being sworn in today.”
Cavaco said the rank and file should have been told ahead of the ceremony.
“If they would have more communication with the media and just a simple notification.”
Logan was selected as HPD chief after a lengthy search, and has pledged to bring the department in a new direction.
“I have to make myself available to the public to get their insights and answer their questions ... and show that the department I am going to now lead is going to help them in what they would like in their community,” he told reporters, after being selected.
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This story will be updated.
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