William Oku, who has decades of experience in law enforcement in Hawaii, will be the state Department of Public Safety’s state sheriff, the department announced today.
“Billy will bring valuable experience in his new role as Sheriff,” said DPS Acting Director Edmund Hyun in a statement. “Billy has a wealth of law enforcement and security management experience going back over 30 years. He will provide effective leadership, accountability, and will strive to obtain accreditation and certification through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement (CALEA) which requires a comprehensive and uniform written directive that clearly define authority, performance, and responsibility.”
Current Sheriff Al Cummings will retire Dec. 1, when Oku will take over the position.
Oku’s career in law enforcement began in 1981 as a state law enforcement officer with the state Attorney General’s office. Since then, he has worked as a sheriff with the state’s Sheriff’s Division and with the Honolulu Police Department — as a patrol officer, and as a part of the Specialized Services Division, Crime Reduction Unit and Criminal Investigations Divisions Gang Task Force.
He has worked as assistant security director for Ala Moana Center and then operations manager for Akal Security and Investigations. In 2010, retired HPD Chief Lee Donohue appointed Oku to serve as his chief of staff in the Honolulu City Council.
Until his appointment for state sheriff, Oku was senior special assistant in the Office of the Governor. He also led the State Law Enforcement Coalition and has done work with COVID-19 initiatives under Major General Kenneth S. Hara.