Every Friday when I tune in for Blue Bloods on CBS, I wonder why we can’t have a Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) as Honolulu police commissioner rather than the mamby-pamby, go-along-and-get-along people we’ve had sitting on our multi-member, volunteer police commission.
Having a citizens committee makes a lot of people happy, but if those members just pick the same old lame police chiefs, refuse to confront the police union on critical matters of public accountability, then what’s the sense? We get members such as Max Sword and Steve Levinson. Nice, good people. I know them both. But when push came to shove, they let the shove push them in the direction of being steam rolled and paying a crooked police chief to leave!
Maybe we need one, strong, highly-qualified, dignified fighter as Police Commissioner, picked by the mayor and the City Council, paid, and given Frank Reagan-like powers to move around and terminate HPD district leaders. He would way outrank the chief of police — the current one having turned out to be pretty spineless. Besides, she was the principle in that police-retesting (a cheat system) scandal, so why was she made chief?
Honolulu is johnny-come-lately in requiring police officer records of service and disciplinary records to be made public on request. Oh, no, somebody might dislike their family members if we did that! So the union got away with calling officer Darren Cachola “a good cop” who deserved retention when in fact he is a very bad cop and should not currently be on the force. It’s an insult to good police behavior. It’s a stain on HPD. Why should the public obey a cop who’s record is being a drunk and abusive?
Setting up a strong police commissioner would not be easy. He/she needs to be impeachable by the Council if he/she misfires as a leader. Carefully vetted with the assistance of the FBI. Put out there for public comment. Looked over by the Hawaii Bar Association. Yes, by SHOPO, too, but that would not be a deciding factor. Just one commentor.
The City Council can do this. First we need to sideline chief Susan Ballard. Then pick a strong, no-cheat-background chief, maybe even from the mainland for a fresh start with no SHOPO history.
Start serious consideration of having a police commissioner rather than police commissioners.