Editorial | Our View Editorial: HPD chief must be trustworthy May 23, 2022 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! The Honolulu Police Department is poised at the brink of transformation. It may be only a matter of days before the police commission chooses a new chief, and it’s clear that the community expects positive, immediate change. Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. The Honolulu Police Department is poised at the brink of transformation. It may be only a matter of days before the police commission chooses a new chief, and it’s clear that the community expects positive, immediate change. As the four finalists spoke in a public forum on Thursday evening, questions from the audience and candidates’ responses coalesced into key expectations. We expect our new police chief to model and demand trustworthy performance while building up an understaffed force, equipping the force to deter crime and handle criminals with maximum efficiency. We expect that procedures for handling investigations and discipline, assignments and promotions will be transparent and fair. We expect open communication, along with a push away from secrecy and from an “us against them” mentality. The finalists are retired New Jersey State Police Lt. Col. Scott Ebner; Maj. Mike Lambert, head of HPD’s Ke Kula Makai Training Division; retired Brig. Gen. Arthur “Joe” Logan, former adjutant general of the Hawaii National Guard, currently a criminal investigator with the state Attorney General’s Office; and Maj. Ben Moszkowicz, head of HPD’s Traffic Division. They made their case to the public in a never-before, televised display of transparency — a highly encouraging first step in modeling the changes to come. While the finalists have clearly diverse styles and backgrounds, all agreed that there’s an urgency to build up the HPD’s staffing and reputation, quelling violent crime, establishing open communication with the public and the media, and addressing officer wellness and mental health. Much public concern revolves around keeping Oahu’s streets safe. To do this, HPD must rebuild its force, with 300 vacant positions, to a healthy size that can respond to crisis points as needed. Putting more officers on the street and targeting operations based on need, as determined by data, can push back against violent and property crime. The current HPD-employed candidates gave more insight to the opportunities for change. Lambert blasted “nepotism” in assignments and promotions. Moszkowicz said a “gigantic, entangled mess” of special assignments takes as many as 100 valuable officers off the streets, in addition to vacant positions. As for a healthy, loyal force, candidates pointed to fair, consistent discipline as a top priority. Each committed to improving how the department communicates with the news media and the community. We were also pleased to hear Lambert and Moszkowicz pledge to restore media access to police radio communications. That is one cornerstone of maximum transparency, along with a commitment to come before the public swiftly when incidents occur. Ultimately, candidates acknowledged the blow to HPD’s reputation and morale that resulted from former Police Chief Louis Kealoha’s criminal behavior in conspiring to frame a member of his own extended family with a federal crime, obstructing justice, and “elaborate schemes,” as federal attorneys described them, to defraud banks and divert money stolen from his wife’s family. Residents here must maintain a sense of outrage at this betrayal of the public trust, and we — we, including HPD rank and file — must understand that past HPD practices enabled this manifestly corrupt behavior. There can be no going back to “the way it was.” Instead, our new chief must lead us toward a new paradigm, with openness, honesty, lack of prejudice and pride in performance. Today at 9:30 a.m., commissioners will accept in-person and submitted testimony from the public, before they deliberate and possibly select the next chief. For an agenda and link to online viewing, go to 808ne.ws/CHIEF. Previous Story Editorial: Don’t allow Navy to dodge its duty at Red Hill Next Story Letters: Recycling program needs to be upgraded; Hold Navy accountable for polluting our water; Government should straighten itself out.