HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's the first day of retirement for Louis Kealoha. The embattled former Honolulu police chief ended his 33-year career with HPD on Tuesday.
Louis Kealoha did not return to HPD's headquarters on his last day leading the city's police force and hasn't been back to his office since December when he was forced to place himself on paid leave after the FBI informed him he was the target of a federal investigation into allegations of conspiracy and public corruption.
Despite the controversy, the Honolulu Police Commission voted to offer Kealoha a retirement settlement to avoid firing him and the potential for a lengthy court battle.
After seven years as police chief, Kealoha accepted a $250,000 severance payment funded by taxpayers. He'll have to return the money if he's convicted of a felony in the corruption probe he's facing, which includes accusations of civil liberties violations against his deputy prosecutor wife, Katherine Kealoha. Critics and supporters say they're already looking ahead to a new chapter for the department.
"He would be the first to tell you that neither he or any other man or woman is greater than what the department should represent and again, that's with integrity, fairness and respect for all -- internally and externally -- especially for the community," said Tenari Maafala, president of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers.
Former Deputy Chief Cary Okimoto is now in charge on an interim basis.
It's not going to be an easy transition for the Department.
Police Commissioners are meeting later Wednesday, and their agenda includes an update on the selection process for the next chief of police. Kealoha's permanent replacement is expected to be in place sometime this summer.