State lawmakers say HPD chief needs help running department
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Four state senators say Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha needs help running the department.
In a letter written by State Senator Will Espero that was also signed by Senator Rosalyn Baker, Senator Breene Harimoto, and Senator Russell Ruderman, it asked the police commission to consider a team of co-chiefs to assist Chief Kealoha who is dealing with legal trouble and an FBI investigation.
“We believe, however, it is in the best interest of the Honolulu Police Department and the residents of the City and County of Honolulu to have a team of 2 or 3 co-chiefs working together to administer the daily operations of HPD,” the later stated.
After months under scrutiny, Chief Kealoha says he's fine.
"I can tell you that my performance as your police chief has not been compromised, I've been coming to work every day and doing my job." Kealoha said.
However, his legal dispute with his wife's uncle over a stolen mailbox has critics worried that he's spread too thin.
"With all the issues going on in his private life, and with some police decisions and operations, we can't deny, and I don't think anyone will argue that he's under a little stress," said Senator Espero.
"The job is a lot of stress, but obviously they don't know our police officers. We go through stress every day. This is just a minor distraction in my personal life,” Kealoha fired back.
Senator Espero said he wrote the letter on behalf of concerned constituents to rebuild the trust and confidence in the department.
“We feel a co-team of senior officers involved in the oversight of HPD is a proper course to take at this time,” stated the letter.
Former federal agent and law enforcement expert Tommy Aiu, says a team of co-chiefs running a police department has never been done before because it's not a good idea.
"To have a police department run by committee, would probably be dysfunctional for the police department. It would create chaos for the men, it would create confusion as to what the direction of the police department would be," Aiu said.
Police Commission Chairman Ron Taketa says they will be responding to the letter in a week and a half.
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