Gov. David Ige announced today that he has appointed Edmund “Fred” Hyun, chair of the Hawaii Paroling Authority, to serve as temporary acting director for the state Department of Public Safety.
Effective immediately, Hyun will take a leave of absence from his HPA position, and he will be in charge of DPS starting today until Nov. 30.
An interim director has not been selected.
“At the beginning of this month, I appointed Fred to serve as special master to the Department of Public Safety and conduct a top-to-bottom assessment of the department. He will continue that assignment through his new, temporary leadership role,” Ige said in a statement. “Maria Cook will continue assisting Fred in her capacity as deputy director for Administration.”
HPA board member Fituina Fiapule Tua is chair of the HPA until Hyun returns.
Ige announced the retirement of former DPS director, Nolan Espinda, along with the director for the state Department of Health, Bruce Anderson, in late August during a COVID-19 outbreak in Hawaii, including in its prisons and jails.
Espinda, who was on personal leave, retired effective at the end of business Wednesday. Ige had appointed Maria Cook, DPS deputy director for administration, to take over as DPS director until appointing Hyun.
Hyun will “assess the operations of the administration, corrections and law enforcement divisions,” and is tasked with investigating concerns from unions about the department’s response to COVID-19.
“I’m ready to continue this assignment to help PSD identify areas of improvement and make the necessary changes to enable the department to operate more effectively,” Hyun said in a statement.
Hyun graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a degree in psychology and a master’s degree in social work. He served in the Hawaii Air National Guard, and was a youth corrections officer at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility.
Hyun was then hired as a supervisor at the Oahu Intake Service Center. He became and served as manager there until retiring from DPS in 2003.