Police chief, union meet
By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer
Honolulu's new police chief walked into the rank-and-file's union hall last night dressed in a green-and-white aloha shirt, pointed to his two deputy chiefs clad in uniforms, and joked that they "neva get my memo."
With that, Chief Louis Kealoha made his first appearance before the Honolulu Police Department's unionized officers since he was sworn in last week. The 49-year-old former captain was greeted with a standing ovation and felt at home as he addressed the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers' general membership meeting in Kalihi.
"Eh, how you guys doing?" he asked the crowd of about 100 officers. "You guys know my personality. I'm low-key. I just wanted to come and say aloha and thank you for all your support."
The city's 10th chief is seen as a blessing to many of the officers, whose union often clashed with retired Chief Boisse Correa. Kealoha was supported by the union during the selection process and is seen as a friend of the officers he commands.
Last night, he introduced his new deputies, Randy Macadangdang and Delbert Tatsuyama, who also were greeted warmly. Both were assistant chiefs under Correa and were among the 13 in the running to succeed Correa.
Tenari Ma'afala, SHOPO president, said last night was the first time a chief and his two deputies have addressed the union's general membership meeting. He told the group that working under Kealoha will be better by "100 fold. No doubt about it."
Kealoha did not discuss any policy changes and said that will come later. He said he went to the meeting to wish his officers the best and encourage them to work with his new administration.
Kealoha said many asked why he would want to be chief at a time of budget cuts and low morale. He said that there is no better time.
"My answer to this is this is the best time to be the chief of police, this is the best time to step forward," he said. "You know why? Because I believe in this police department. I believe in our people. I believe that when we're challenged, we're going to rise up and we're going to succeed."