On Tuesday, the Hawaii County Police Commission concluded two days of public testimony and questioning four finalists of the police chief in an investigation into questionable hotel stays and discrimination lawsuits.
Vice-Chairman Thomas Brown said public deliberations on the candidates will begin at the next committee meeting. For Zoom, please click here. The meeting ID is 160 645 4115 and the passcode is 627133.
Monday’s questions were vague and not specific to a department or candidate, but on Tuesday the police commission said it was clear that officers’ retention, training, corruption, and within the department had been raised by current officers who testified. focused on concerns about retaliation.
The first question was directed to Major Byrd, a 24-year veteran of the Hawaii Police Department. She was asked about attending the Ironman World Championships in October.
Commissioner Denby Tochi said of Major Byrd’s four-day hotel stay at the Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha Beach Hotel during two races on October 6 and 8 in Kailua-Kona. He said the receipt for his stay had been received by the commission. Ethics Committee Disclosure of Gifts.
Byrd said he didn’t because he was working as the policing commander for the event.
“It’s not considered a gift,” Byrd said, adding that the purpose of the hotel stay was to be available on the spot.
At least 28,000 people from around the world participated in the triathlon, among athletes, their families and spectators, Bird said, with the triathlon starting at sunrise and ending at 11 p.m.
“I was acting in an official capacity. It was neither a gift nor an honorarium,” Byrd repeated. “What a lot of people don’t know is what happens after the race is over… there’s a lot of post- and pre-planning going on for the next event that’s going on. And I’m there to make the decisions.” I need to be able to be there.”
Commissioner Dylan Andrion asked Tori about her perceived conflict of interest and revisited the question whether to support her statement that the stay at the hotel was not a gift or gratuity.
While she considers revisiting the issue as a perceived conflict, she stands by her position, stating: “
Vice Chairman Brown questioned Capt. Applegate, acting assistant chief of the Kauai Police Department’s Patrol Services Department, about his department and his lawsuit against Kauai Police Chief Todd G. Layback. The lawsuit alleges he was denied a promotion because of his race.
Brown asked if there were any other legal issues he had and whether they would affect his performance as police chief if he was elected.
“I’ve been waiting for that question,” Applegate said, assuring the commissioner that there were no other legal issues pending and that the case would in no way interfere with his ability to carry out his duties as chief of police. .
Without giving details of the lawsuit, Applegate said: As proof of what you are referring to, I will take action. “
A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Honolulu in August 2021 alleges that Chief Layback mocked a Japanese person’s appearance when discussing the deputy chief selection process for Kauai Police with Applegate in July 2020. I’m here.
According to a modified version of Applegate’s original complaint, Raybuck allegedly squinted his eyes and repeatedly bowed to Applegate, and the police chief said, “I can’t trust the Japanese because they don’t always tell the truth.” ” he claimed to have said.
“Then he says that Western culture ‘speaks as it is,’ whereas Japanese culture says ‘yes, yes, yes’ to the face, and when one’s thinking seems silly, even,” the complaint continued.
Chief Layback was suspended for five days without pay in April 2021 and was required to complete Equal Employment Opportunity and Cultural Sensitivity training. This was after an investigation by the Kauai County Human Resources Department concluded that the police chief violated the county’s policy against discrimination during a meeting at his workplace in November. 2019 and he July 2020.
During the Hawaii Police Chief’s public testimony on Tuesday, several witnesses sided with Byrd, citing her diligence and integrity.
Hawaii Police Department Mark Arnold, who is also General Director of the Hawaii State Police Organization, attended both meetings on his own behalf to support Ignacio.
Two Hawaii Police Department officers spoke passionately about their failure to provide proper training to their officers and their inability to retain good officers.
“Many of my colleagues told me that if I spoke openly today, I would be committing career suicide,” said Justin Gaspar, a 13-year HPD board member.
He did not endorse any candidate. But he spoke directly to all finalists and wanted ranks and files to be fair across the board, and that there was no standardized operation across divisions and that every district operated differently. is shown.
“The monkey in the room is a hold,” Gaspar said. “…I find myself disappointed when we take the time to address these well-qualified applicants [police officers] and they leave. We are losing qualified applicants due to decades of poor management and this is a top issue. “
Gaspar said there is no recall training. He said it wasn’t the officers’ fault that they weren’t trained in current trends.
Gaspar also called for the new police to create an open promotion process. “We want transparency, we want change.”
Officer Chad Taniyama, a 25-year veteran of the HPD, said he thought long and hard about coming to testify. he said: Our upper echelons have failed. They couldn’t look to the future. “
Taniyama openly disagreed with Bird, stating that she had the power to effect change, but that she was not.
“If you really want change, you have to do it now,” he said.
All candidates strongly opposed the idea of retaliation within the department.
“Some valid points were brought up,” Byrd said. “Thank you very much [testifiers] be a voice. I do not promote or participate in a culture of retaliation. “
Honolulu City Candidate Major Ben Moskowitz, a 22-year veteran of the Honolulu Police Department, said the department had no room for retaliation. He specifically noted the courage of the police officer who spoke of his concerns about losing his law enforcement career.
“The best way to solve these problems is to make them public,” Moscovich said.
Regarding retention, candidate Ignacio, a retired Federal Bureau of Investigation senior resident agent, talks to officers, but feels like they aren’t listening.
“I think we need to address this issue through leadership and training,” he said. “We can’t keep losing this talent.”
Regarding retaliation, Ignacio said that inappropriate behavior would not be accepted and would be dealt with swiftly if he was elected chief.
Commissioner Andrion also expressed concern for Moscovich over the lack of public testimony in his favor. A police officer in Honolulu admitted that he wasn’t from Big Island and admitted it. He instead emphasized his career spent developing himself academically and professionally.
“I went out on purpose and amassed some support,” Moscovich said. “I understand that this is not a popularity contest. I would love to see the totals. My skill set is broad based on my executive level.”
Vice Chairman Brown said he hopes the police commission will elect a new police chief by the end of the year. Former Hawaii County Police Chief Paul Ferreira will retire on August 31, 2022. Kenneth Bugado Jr. is acting Chief of Police.
Pacific Media Group reporter Scott Juncker contributed to this report.