The Hawaii Senate confirmed today Max Otani as the director of the Department of Public Safety for a term that expires Dec. 5, 2022. The department oversees the state’s prison and jails, as well as the state’s Narcotics Enforcement and Sheriff divisions.
Otani has been serving as the department’s director since Gov. David Ige appointed him to the position in December.
Otani has extensive experience with the state’s correctional system. He served as a probation officer from 1985-1987 and worked in various positions within the Hawaii Paroling Authority for more than two decades. He also worked for several years in the Intake Services Center, which oversees jail diversion programs and evaluates offenders entering the correctional system. From 2013-2014, he served as the Department of Public Safety’s deputy director for corrections.
In 2016, he retired as administrator of the Intake Service Center Division. He currently serves on the board of the Hawaii Paroling Authority.
“Director Otani’s three decades of experience and deep knowledge of the state’s judicial and corrections systems will serve him well as PSD’s new director,” said Sen. Clarence Nishihara, chair of the Senate Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs Committee, in a press release. “Under his leadership, I believe the department will overcome many of the current challenges that have arisen during this pandemic.”
Otani received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Hawaii at Hilo and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is a graduate of Hilo High School.