HPD critics call for new blood on Honolulu police commission

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
Published: Sep. 13, 2016 at 10:49 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 14, 2016 at 12:48 AM HST
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Critics say the mayor is missing chances to bring in new Honolulu police commissioners to push for reform at the Honolulu Police Department.

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Police Commission Chairman Ron Taketa's term expired at the end of last year, but he remains on the panel.

He was appointed by former Mayor Peter Carlisle.

Onlookers suspect Taketa is still serving on the commission because of his political clout. He is the executive secretary and treasurer of the Hawaii Carpenters Union, which helped in Mayor Kirk Caldwell's election.

"Usually the people who are appointed, if you look at the current lineup right now, are people who are heavily involved in politics, either as donors or operatives," said former Gov. Ben Cayetano, who is supporting Charles Djou for mayor.

A spokesman for Caldwell said the mayor hasn't appointed a replacement because he hasn't been able to find a qualified person who is willing to serve.

Cayetano is skeptical of that explanation.

"Maybe he hasn't asked enough people or hasn't had the opportunity to seek some diversity in his appointments," said Cayetano.

Scrutiny of the Honolulu Police Commission, charged with the power to hire and fire the chief of police, comes as HPD Chief Louis Kealoha faces a federal probe.

Private attorney Loretta Sheehan is the only new commissioner to join the seven-member panel since Caldwell took office in 2013.

She has demanded answers to tough questions facing HPD.

When questioned about what should happen to the embattled chief, the mayor has repeatedly said that's up to the police commission.

"If he's going to say that it's up to the police commission, then he ought to appoint people who will be aggressive advocates for the public," said Hawaii News Now political analyst Colin Moore.

Caldwell has reappointed two commissioners: businessman Marc Tilker was brought on by former Mayor Mufi Hannemann and Outrigger Hotels lobbyist Max Sword was originally appointed by former Mayor Peter Carlisle.

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