Create unit to detect officers’ wrongdoing
Honolulu's police chief is asking for city funds to create a unit to detect wrongdoing within the police force.
THE Honolulu Police Department has been embarrassed in recent years by officers gone astray and caught by federal investigators. Police Chief Boisse Correa is asking for funds
to add a seven-person unit to the department's Internal Affairs Division to combat wrongdoing within the ranks, and the City Council should grant his request.
A police officer was sentenced to 14 years in prison two years ago for drug charges following an informant's top to federal authorities. A two-year federal investigation resulted a year ago in charges against four police officers and a former officer accused of protecting illegal cockfights and gambling operations in Waialua.
"I do not want our officers to be sent off to the federal penitentiary," Correa said. "When they slip, we want to catch it early. If they have problems, we want to know about problems to prevent them from escalating to a different level."
Correa wants a captain, lieutenant, four detectives and a senior auditor to comprise a Quality Assurance Detail within Internal Affairs. The unit would be assigned to "identify and correct any kind of procedural or system failures" to "detect troubled employees."
Criticism of the idea has been parochial and predictable. Some City Council members would prefer more officers to patrol their districts. The police officers' labor union opposes "targeting officers" suspected of wrongdoing. But logic dictates that added scrutiny is needed to identify such officers.
The past need for federal investigations to detect criminal activity by police officers indicates complacency within the Internal Affairs Division. Correa is in the position to know best how to inject vigor into the division to detect criminal behavior before federal agents come onto the scene.
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