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Sonobe Hong appointed as state sheriff

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  • Renee Sonobe Hong (Courtesy Department of Public Safety)

Former deputy corporation counsel and deputy city prosecutor Renee Sonobe Hong Has been appointed state sheriff.

According to the Department of Public Safety, Isobe’s appointment as head of department’s sheriff division is effective Oct. 16.

In July, State Sheriff Robin Nagamine and First Deputy Patrick Lee were placed on “unspecified leave.”

No reason was given, in accordance with the department’s policy on disciplinary actions. However, it is believed that the suspensions are related to the department’s handling of another sheriff deputy’s arrest for driving under the influence of an intoxicant two years ago.

Shawn Tsuha, deputy director for law enforcement, is filling in for Nagamine. Lee’s duties are being temporarily filled by Lt. Albert Cummings.

Sonobe Hong most recently served as a deputy attorney general for the Public Safety Department, Hawaiian Home Lands and the Housing Division of the Attorney General’s Office.

Before that she served as first deputy corporation counsel. She also served 20 years with the city prosecutor’s office in various roles including misdemeanor/traffic division chief and deputy prosecuting attorney for the sexual assault team.

“Renee will bring valuable experience in her new role as Sheriff,” said PSD Director Nolan Espinda. “She adds a wealth of criminal justice experience to our department. Her experience in criminal prosecution will be an invaluable asset in widening and professionalizing the scope of law enforcement actions routinely performed by our deputy sheriffs statewide. She will provide effective leadership, accountability, and she will ensure that the division operates efficiently.”

She is a graduate of University of California Hasting College of Law.

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