January 5, 2015
Ron Taketa, Chair
Honolulu Police Commission and fellow members
City and County of Honolulu
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Dear Chair Taketa and Commission Members,
We are writing to ask your commission to consider appointing a co-chief to assist Chief Kealoha in the management of the Honolulu Police Department. As you are aware, Chief Kealoha is embroiled in a civil and criminal case which involves his wife and his own actions. Specifically, the case which involves Gerard Puana has both civil and criminal implications, and the Kealoha family is directly involved as news accounts have reported.
In one article of the Star Advertiser, the following was reported on 9/27/14:
"He said he didn't report the incident at first because he thought he could take care of them on his own. Eventually, he installed security cameras. One day, when his daughter was in the home, he arrived to find the doors he had replaced had been shot out again. So he decided to start making reports."
The same article describes the lawsuit involving his wife's grandmother and the power-of-attorney his wife had secured regarding her grandmother's affairs.
As the Honolulu police chief, Chief Kealoha has great responsibilities and authority overseeing his City agency. One can easily also conclude that there is a certain amount of stress, anxiety, and pressure on the chief as these cases move forward in the courts. The chiefs comments that caused a recent mistrial and the initial decision not to file reports as noted above with HPD indicate to us some questionable decision-making.
We realize investigations are ongoing, and the Police Commission has decided not to act until current investigations are complete. 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.
Once all the facts are clear and the issues before the courts are resolved, then permanent action can be taken by the Police Commission as warranted. We understand the 2014 evaluation of Chief Kealoha has been put on hold, and we support this decision. Constituents and other residents have expressed their concerns to us regarding the chief, and we feel a co-team of senior officers involved in the oversight of HPD is a proper course to take at this time.
We have the utmost respect for our police officers and their work to protect our neighborhoods. We understand the courage and sacrifices of our officers. We humbly make this recommendation as a way to rebuild trust and confidence in our police department. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns you would like to discuss.
Will Espero, Chair, Public Safety, Intergovernmental, & Military Affairs Committee
Breene Harimoto, State Senator
Rosalyn H. Baker, Vice-Chair, PSD Committee
Russell E. Ruderman, State Senator
* * * * *
PDF: Original Letter
KHON: Senators ask for co-chiefs to assist Kealoha amid legal troubles
Kealoha: I don't need any help from Senators or Co-Chiefs
SA: Honolulu police Chief Louis Kealoha on Wednesday dismissed a recommendation issued by four state senators that calls for assembling a team of co-chiefs to run the department.
"I don't need any help," Kealoha told reporters at the Honolulu Police Department. "My performance has not waxed or waned in light of this personal challenge."
Kealoha made the comments after the Honolulu Police Commission discussed, in executive session, a letter from the senators recommending co-chiefs as a means to "rebuild trust and confidence in our police department."
The letter was signed by Sens. Will Espero, Rosalyn Baker, Breene Harimoto and Russell Ruderman....
Honolulu Police Commission Chairman Ron Taketa reserved comment until after the lawmakers receive a response from the commission in writing in about two weeks.
"We appreciate the letter and the intent of it," Taketa said. "I don't think it changes anything, but again I think I would wait until the senator receives our response before commenting."
He added that the police department is running well.
"I don't think any of this distraction has affected the chief's performance at all," he said.
read ... "No"