Police union wants
pay for 5 officers
involved in FBI probe

Honolulu police union officials have filed a grievance with the Police Department regarding five officers who were put on leave without pay following an FBI gambling investigation earlier this month.

Officials for SHOPO, the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, said the officers under investigation have had their homes searched by federal agents but that it did not warrant them being placed on unpaid leave. Sources said the investigation involves police officers allegedly participating in illegal cockfighting on the North Shore.

"We've filed the appropriate paperwork to get them back on leave with pay status," said detective Alex Garcia, SHOPO Oahu Chapter Chairman. "There's been no charges or arrests, just allegations.

"The chief did not have to relieve them of their duties."

When asked about the case yesterday, Honolulu Police Chief Boisse Correa said he could not talk about the officers involved because the investigation is ongoing. He did say, however, that the steps taken so far to look into the matter have been just.

"I am satisfied with the investigation ... knowing all the facts," Correa said. "Of course, I'm not happy about it, but it's something we have to get through.

"We want to make sure this department is clean."

Correa said his department asked the federal government to help it investigate the allegations.

The case began as a result of a separate federal investigation involving gambling and narcotics, sources said. Federal investigators alerted Honolulu police, who in turn asked for federal help.

Sources said the raids on the officers' homes were to gather records and files about alleged illegal gambling on cockfights in Waialua, which allegedly involve some officers and their families. The searches took place during the first two weeks of this month and included a Wahiawa patrol sergeant, two members of District 4's Crime Reduction Unit (Windward Oahu), a member of the Vice Division's gambling detail and a member of the department's Criminal Intelligence Unit. The FBI also raided the Waialua home of a civilian man, sources said.

Correa said he hopes all the facts of the investigation will be made public in the end.

Garcia said he agrees with the chief on withholding judgment until the investigation is done. However, he reiterated that in the meantime, the officers should be put on paid desk duty.

"We need to get them back on a paid basis," Garcia said. "This is only an investigation, which does not substantiate leave without pay."

E-mail to City Desk


© Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- https://archives.starbulletin.com