HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Morale was in trouble at the Honolulu Police Department even before embattled Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha went on leave Tuesday amid an ongoing public corruption case, according to documents produced by a public relations firm that HPD hired to improve its image.
HPD hired the public relations firm nine months ago to produce an "integrated communications plan and provide media training to police.
To date, HPD has paid The Bennet Group $74,000 in the past nine months for its advice, and now the police union and media experts are questioning whether that was money well spent given the widening federal investigation involving Kealoha and his wife, a deputy city prosecutor.
Wilson stressed that because of the nature of their work, HPD and its officers have a truly tough job.
But the impact that the chief's fall from grace will now have on HPD seems to make the work of any PR firm nearly impossible.
"There's a saying in public relations -- it goes like this -- you know you're in trouble when your public relations is smelling bad." Wilson said.
Meanwhile, the head of the police officers union also doesn't see the need for expensive PR help.
"So I might not agree that the department has a contract with a PR firm ... but that's a call they have to make," Tenari Maafala told Hawaii News Now.
Maafala added, "Because we're humans behind the badge, we hurt for what the chief and the other officers are going through and again truth will prevail one way or the other."
The Honolulu Police Department confirmed it's still working with the Bennet Group and could use it in the future for crisis management help.