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Police discipline report shows 2 officers discharged, seven suspended

Two Hawaii County police officers were fired and seven others were suspended without pay last year, according to the department’s annual report to the state Legislature.

The 2020 misconduct compares to 2019 when five officers were terminated and seven suspended for disciplinary reasons, and 2018 when three officers were fired and two others suspended. The Hawaii Police Department has more than 430 sworn personnel.

One officer was fired in 2020 for getting into an altercation while off-duty with an ex-girlfriend, reaching/entering into her vehicle without permission and striking her on the forehead, according to the annual report submitted to the state Legislature. The case remains in arbitration, and prosecutors were notified.

The other officer was fired for drawing and displaying while off-duty his firearm during a private gathering in front of non-police personnel without having a legitimate reason for doing so. A grievance action is still pending in the case.

Four of the seven officers receiving unpaid suspension totaled 30 or more days each, while the other three had unpaid suspension up to 20 days each.

One of the officers receiving dozens of days of suspension violated the department’s report writing procedures six times and failed to follow the department’s evidence procedures 12 times, garnering a total of 40 days suspension. Another officer received 36 days suspension for violating report writing procedures 12 times.

Three officers received a total of 30 days suspension each for failing to meet the parameters for the use of deadly force before discharging a firearm and violating the department’s firearms policy by discharging a firearm.

One officer received 20 days suspension for making unfavorable comments toward a coworker violating the department’s standard of conduct general orders and the department’s good order and discipline standards.

Another was given 10 days suspension after the odor of alcohol was detected on his breath while on duty.

Officers who break the rules are counseled or receive additional training or reprimands before the department resorts to suspensions.

Police departments throughout the state are required to submit annual reports to the Legislature describing suspensions and terminations for the prior year.

Starting this year, disciplined officers’ names must be included per state law, so long as the grievance process has concluded. The 2020 report contained just two cases that were final in the report; both officers who violated reporting writing and/or evidence procedures. The names of officers in the other cases that remain in arbitration or grievance is pending remain confidential until the process is final.

Email Chelsea Jensen at cjensen@westhawaiitoday.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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