Capt. Louis Kealoha is HPD's new chief


POSTED: Thursday, November 19, 2009


Capt. Louis M. Kealoha was selected as the Honolulu Police Department's new chief in a unanimous vote by the Police Commission this afternoon.

He replaces Acting Chief Paul Putzulu, who has been in the job since late August after Boisse Correa retired. In May, the six-member commission decided not to renew Correa's contract, ending his 39-year career with HPD.

Kealoha, 49, is a 26-year veteran of HPD, most recently in the juvenile services division. He grew up in Kalihi and graduated from Damien Memorial High School in 1978. He received a doctorate in education from the University of Southern California.

He is the fourth captain in HPD history to hurdle over the ranks of major and assistant chief to take the top position.

Kealoha beat out five other candidates including Putzulu, Assistant Chief Delbert T. Tatsuyama, and Assistant Chief Debora A. Tandal, all of HPD; Phoenix Police Department Commander Harry Markley and Chicago Police Department Commander Gary Yamashiroya.

The selection process became mired in controversy when the commission added Tandal and Tatsuyama to the list of four candidates recommended by its selection committee. Two members of the selection committee resigned in protest.

Earlier today, commission chairwoman Christine Camp answered a barrage of questions from City Councilmembers over the selection process. After Camp's appearance, the Council withdrew a resolution to ask the commission to delay today's selection. The Council has no control over the process, but some councilmembers expressed concern over how the commission handled the selection.

Last week, the commission took public testimony on the six candidates and most written testimony supported Kealoha.

HPD has never had a candidate from outside the department become police chief.