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Hilo native named new DPS director

A Hilo native is the new state Department of Public Safety director.

Gov. David Ige appointed Max Otani to fill the position vacated in September with the retirement of Nolan Espinda, effective Tuesday.

Otani, whose appointment is subject to Senate confirmation, has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Otani is currently a board member for the Hawaii Paroling Authority, and has worked in several positions in the state’s corrections and judicial systems for more than 30 years. Otani began his criminal justice career with the Judiciary, as a Family Court officer and Circuit Court probation officer from 1985 to 1987.

“I would like to thank Gov. Ige for the opportunity to return to work with the Department of Public Safety. I look forward to working with staff, other agencies and community partners to address the needs of the department,” Otani said in a statement.

The state’s aging and overcrowded correctional facilities, especially on Oahu, have been hard hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Acting DPS Director Fred Hyun returned to his position as the chair of the parole board, effective Tuesday, and will remain on board the department as a special master appointed by the governor until Dec. 30 — to complete the assessment of the department in light of the pandemic.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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