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Kealoha defends controversial promotion

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha defended the promotion of a major who was arrested in 1994 for domestic violence after a lawmaker complained the selection is bad for the department’s image.

Kealoha said Thursday he’s confident Maj. Ryan Borges will be an excellent assistant chief. Borges “has been honest and open about his past,” Kealoha said in a statement. “We’ve all made mistakes in our lives, but what’s important is what we do afterwards.”

Honolulu prosecutor spokesman Dave Koga said the case file has been destroyed because of its age. He didn’t have details beyond it being a domestic violence case. Borges pleaded guilty to second-degree terroristic threatening and received probation, Koga said.

According to court records, Borges and Laura Donaldean Borges divorced in 2001. Reached by phone, she declined to comment on the domestic violence case. “I’m really proud of Ryan,” she said when asked about his promotion.

The promotion sends the wrong message about how the department views domestic violence, said state Sen. Will Espero, vice chairman of the Public Safety Committee and vice president of the Senate. He recalled that in 2014 female lawmakers were upset with the department’s reaction to the case of a sergeant caught on surveillance video fighting with his girlfriend.

“One would think that the chief and the leadership would make some decisions that would … uplift its image,” he said. “Were there other qualified candidates that could have been promoted?”

Espero (D, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) is also concerned about a 2014 case involving a temporary restraining order issued against Borges. Allegations of threats were brought by a former boyfriend of Borges’ daughter, and they were dismissed in court, said Borges’ attorney for the case, Richard Wurdeman.

“It was completely unfounded,” Wurdeman said.

While Wurdeman didn’t represent Borges for the 1994 case, he noted that Borges later received a gubernatorial pardon. “He’s been pardoned,” Wurdeman said. “He doesn’t have a conviction.”

The promotion is deserved, Wurdeman said, calling Borges a “highly qualified person to serve as assistant chief.” He said Espero’s attack on his past is “unbecoming of a state senator.”

Borges couldn’t be reached for comment.

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  • The fish rots from the head on down. Amazing that Borges can still own a firearm. What are the chances if he wasn’t a connected cop? (Connected: See gubernatorial pardon).

    • Kealoha said, ‘We’ve all made mistakes in our lives.’ A ‘mistake’ is when you make a right turn instead of a left. Domestic violence is a clear choice involving criminal intent. And you wonder why HPD has such an awful rep.

  • Espero also makes a good point….who else was vying for the job? Were they all arrested for worse crimes than Borges? That doesn’t look good at all.

    • 1994? Twenty two years ago? Nothing since? A 22 year gradual rinse to hard work and achievement. Prison ministry. A camp for prisoners children. What does Espero do cept spout off. Does Will do volunteer work? No. How about he investigate the DNLR rape suspect. Or the Stadium incompetents. How about the airport security strong arm. All on STATE property jurisdiction. Does Espero only use his silly “balato” cap only in public? Clean your own house.

      • Lots of dark clouds at the airport regarding security. He should focus his energy on that issue. Strong Arm tactics, favorite contractor, security background checks, security guards getting answers to pass security guard test which is required by Act 208….

  • Respect is earned, not given. This situation lessens the public’s respect for the good officers of HPD. A pardon by the governor makes everything all right? I don’t think so. This whole event is such a disappointment. I guess it’s still a who-you-know world rather than a what-you-know/quality-of-candidates system. So sad.

  • Espero is a wanna be cop. Wanna be Chief but cannot be. Good comment By Duke Aiona yesterday, Espero should keep his nose in state business and out of counties. State has enough problems that needs fixing, among them corrections and sheriffs department. He lost this campaign against the cop in the Waipahu incident because he could not see that this was a set by this cop and his girlfriend. We still waiting for round 2. She won round 1. Heard she beat him at golf too, among other cops.

    • It is kind of odd that nobody on the council is asking the questions that Espero is asking. After all, it is their jobs to keep an eye on city departments.

      • Because it is a city organization, council always call the Chief to explain issues that concern the city, it is a routine. City council well aware especially Finance committee. Every time a claim against PD is brought forward, Chief AND commander along with city attorneys are summoned before council…. they know issues.

        • Oh. That makes it okay then. Just so our betters are okay with a police officer being an abuser. You know, other HPD cops have lost their jobs for far less.

        • Not commenting on the Chiefs pick, commenting on Espero’s comments AND where his priorities are. If it were Ann Kobayashi I would not have a comment. Espero has a history of shooting off his mouth on things that he will have no impact on.

      • The city council should ask Espero what he is doing about, airport security taxi kick back, DLNR rape suspect, Stadium incompetent, State hospital security problems, open door policy at OCCC. On and on.Aiona was right, ” Clean your own house manong”. With Aiona knowing about incarceration, he knows Borges is doing a great service.

    • Espero is just representing his constituents who have to deal with HPD. It’s a good thing they have at least one elected official looking out for them. Espero himself is a citizen of the City and County of Honolulu and has every right to demand the highest quality in our police force. Fortunately, he also has some visibility because of his elected office and can raise questions that receive media attention.

  • Espero is going too far. He’s meddled enough in City affairs. There are enough problems at the State level that requires attention. But being true to being a politician, he just loves as much press time as he can get not matter what the issue.

  • Chief Kealoha needs np explanation for the promotion. Borges has lead a steady life and is respected. He has learned from his mistake. Espero is perfect in his mind. So if he makes a mistake, will he learn from it and be better, I don’t think so!

  • Wil Espero needs to concentrate on State Law Enforcement Agencies (LEO) who are sorely in need of training and resources before making disparaging remarks about HPD. Major Ryan Borges, is an excellent administrator and will be a good Assistant Chief. What is Sentor Espero doing to improve and up grade State LAw enforcement agencies? State Law Enforcement Officers are patrolling public roads and facilities on Oahu, does Espero know the problems that they are having without proper training and resources? Before Senator Espero attempts to fix HPD he should really take care of his own backyard.

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