Thursday, November 26, 2015         

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HPD officer charged in theft

Honolulu's police chief offers no explanation for the five recent arrests of policemen

By Gordon Y.K. Pang


A Honolulu police officer was arrested on a shoplifting charge this week, the fifth officer to be arrested since September.

"This arrest as well as the recent arrests of our officers is unacceptable," Police Chief Louis Kealoha said yesterday at a news conference. "It erodes the public's interest in an otherwise great police organization."

Officer James Yee, 48, was arrested at the Town Center of Mililani at about 8:15 p.m. Tuesday and charged with fourth-degree theft, a petty misdemeanor. Kealoha said the shoplifting incident allegedly occurred at the Mililani Times Supermarket and involved food.

Yee was released on $50 bail. He is scheduled to appear in Wahiawa District Court on Jan. 4.

Yee is a 20-year department veteran, most recently assigned to the Honolulu patrol district. He has been stripped of his police authority and restricted to desk duty, with pay, pending the outcome of his case.

Criminal and administrative cases have been opened in connection with the allegations, Kealoha said.

The chief said he cannot explain the recent spate of officer arrests. He said he is continuing his quest of visiting each watch of every HPD station and office during the holiday season.

"I'm reinforcing the importance of making good personal decisions," Kealoha said. "There's no substitute for that. There's no excuse for stealing. You don't have to be a police officer to understand that stealing is wrong."

Three other police officers remain under restricted duty pending the outcome of their cases:

» Ikaika Silva, 27, was arrested Oct. 7 and charged with abuse of a household member.

» Scott J. Valdez, 43, was arrested Sept. 23 and charged with unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle and criminal property damage. The case involves a confrontation while he was on duty.

» John F. Rapozo, 56, was arrested Sept. 10 and charged with fourth-degree theft in connection with shoplifting at the Pearl City Walmart.

A fifth officer, Lt. Jason Kawabata, was arrested Sept. 16 for alleged abuse of a household member. City prosecutors declined to proceed on the case, citing lack of evidence to support the allegations.

HPD has about 2,000 officers.

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