photo unavailable Gathering Place

David Hernandez

HPD deserves more than
just another bureaucrat

Once again the Honolulu Police Commission is charged with selecting a new chief for the Honolulu Police Department. Once again, as has been its practice for the past three decades, the commission will not be selecting the best qualified person for the job; rather, it will be choosing from a small selection of professional bureaucrats whose only qualification for application for this position is that they have attained the rank of captain or higher in the department.

This commission short-changes the people of Oahu with the selection of a new chief of police from the old-boy network. We will have another police chief who has no field police experience during the previous 15 to 25 years, unless you count viewing re-runs of Hill Street Blues as field experience.

HPD will continue to have 70 percent of officers assigned to areas where 15 percent of crime occurs while leaving high-crime areas understaffed.

We will continue to have on-duty officers catering and caddying golf tournaments for police administrators and elected officials while leaving high crime areas unmanned.

We will continue to have innocent motorists being killed by racers because of the lack of police presence and traffic enforcement on our roadways.

We will continue to have our homes burglarized because our patrol officers are being used for traffic control at Aloha Stadium for University of Hawaii football games at city and county expense, instead of being on their beats protecting our property and our lives.

HPD will continue spending millions on a police radio system that will never work, but no one in the HPD administration wants to admit their failures.

The practice of confrontation instead of cooperation between HPD administration and the rank-and-file will continue.

The taxpayers will continue to spend millions for motor allowances, gasoline, vehicle insurance, parking and countless other perks for police administrators who do not provide any law enforcement services to the public. This money could be used to provide more officers on our roadways and protecting the residents of Oahu.

We will continue to import police officers from the mainland because qualified men and women in Hawaii don't apply because of their lack of confidence in the administration.

For years the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers and HPD rank-and-file have been publicly saying that HPD administrators have an agenda that is not in the best interest of its officers or the people of Hawaii.

As a member of this police department for 24 years, I have witnessed an "out of touch with its citizens" police administration cause the deterioration of a first-class department to one that provides less than minimal police services to its communities.

For months I have been seeing on television and reading in newspapers the negative comments from citizens about the lack of protection and services provided by HPD. Now is the time for the people of Hawaii to stop complaining and put their words into action. This is your police department, you pay for it with your taxes. These police officials work for you, not the other way around. You deserve better than what you are getting from this department.

Let's put this department back on the right track to meet the challenges the next five years will bring and to provide a safe environment for the people of Oahu, who are supposed to be the primary concern of any chief of police.

If you, the people of Oahu, permit the police commission to select a chief who is not the best all-around qualified person for that position and who refuses to be accountable to you, then you deserve what you get -- a second-class police department providing second-class services to a first-class public.

David Hernandez is a sergeant who has been with the Honolulu Police Department for 24 years.


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