Frank Fujii


POSTED: Friday, July 24, 2009

Frank Fujii is spending lots of time in Waikiki after retiring from the police force, but don't expect to find him stretched out on the beach sipping a mai tai.

One day after he officially retired from the Honolulu Police Department on June 30, the longtime media liaison began a second career as director of safety and security for the Moana Surfrider and Sheraton Princess Kaiulani hotels, in the heart of Honolulu's tourist district.

Fujii, who retired as a major after 32 years on the force, had spent the last four years as a police spokesman, and was a fixture on the TV news and in the newspapers, sharing public information about major crimes, accidents and other newsworthy events.

The 2000 Police Officer of the Year maintains strong ties to the department, where his wife, Connie Shaw Fujii, is a lieutenant; he continues to serve on the board of directors of the Honolulu Police Credit Union.

“;You never really leave the police department. I think anybody who's worked any amount of years realizes it is a second family,”; said Fujii, 54. “;I look forward to making this (new job) an ohana, too. The people are great.”;

Fujii, who has a son and two daughters, coaches the Punahou School intermediate boys volleyball team, and is known for encouraging cooperation and cohesion on and off the court.

He cherished the sense of camaraderie within the police department, and is bringing that same sense of teamwork to his new line of work.

Question: How do you like the new job?

Answer: I'm loving it. There are a lot of parallels with police work and my new job ... I'm serving our visitors to our great state as well as the employees who work here.

Q: How do you spend your day?

A: Being brand new here, I'm being indoctrinated into a completely new work environment, learning the nuances of the hospitality industry.

Q: What are the nuances?

A: I've gone from basically a paramilitary organization to one that is less formal ... but the basics of human relationships, the importance of promoting teamwork are very much the same. In both organizations ... integrity is of utmost importance, and providing the best service possible. Respecting the people we work with, and are trying to help, is very important.

Q: Are you the top security person?

A: I don't like to say that, that I'm the top person, because it's all about being part of an effective team ... and especially in a new environment, there's so many things to learn, and I'm relying on lots of great people to help me learn ... and I cannot say enough (about the executive leadership.) It's great.

Q: What are the typical security issues for a hotel?

A: Our primary focus is safety, of our guests and of our employees ... I worked and taught crime prevention for eight years ... the basic premises of crime prevention apply to personal safety and the workplace as well.

Q: What are the basic premises?

A: Awareness. Recognition. Implementation. You recognize and anticipate potential problems to keep them from occurring.

Q: Do you miss the media? (laughter)

A: I think the best way for me to put it is this, is that when I joined the department, I never thought I would have so much media exposure ... I don't miss the attention, but sure, there are people I liked talking to. The media is important. The public has a right to know what's going on and I was in the position to disclose information to the public that is so important to know ... Some people think the police department is secretive, but it's about public safety, solving a crime. There were times when I might have liked to say more, but I couldn't because we were trying to solve a crime, protect the public.

Q: Does this new job allow you to balance work and family? A: I hope it will, but I don't know at this time. I've just started. ... The one thing that I'm not going to miss is that 24-7 on call (as police spokesman) ... and I'm not going to be exposed to all the tragedies. In the police department, in the jobs I had, I saw so much tragedy and grief. This new job is so completely different in that way. I'm with people who are here (visiting) and want to have a good time and I'm working with people who are trying to help them have a good time. It's a very nice atmosphere.

Q: What have you learned?

A: I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I'm working for an organization that is really steeped in the culture of Hawaii and wants our guests to share that, because I am proud to be someone who is born and raised and really enjoys living in Hawaii. That emphasis is a real positive aspect.