Under Federal Probe, Honolulu Police Chief Agrees To Retire

Jan 6, 2017

Honolulu Police Commission chairman Max Sword announces to reporters that Chief Louis Kealoha plans to retire.
Credit Molly Solomon

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha has agreed to retire. The announcement came on Friday after the Honolulu Police Commission emerged from an hour-long executive session, the second closed door meeting in a week.

Honolulu’s highest ranking police official Louis Kealoha voluntarily retired Friday morning. The embattled chief had already surrendered his gun and badge last month and is a suspect in a federal corruption investigation.

“The chief had agreed to retire and we’re working the details out,” said Honolulu Police Commission chair Max Sword. “At this point, I’d like to thank the Chief for his many years of service, I believe it’s over 30 years of service, and we’ll wish him well in his retirement.”

Sword said details on the retirement agreement will be discussed at the next commission meeting, Wednesday January 18.

Myles Breiner, Chief Kealoha’s attorney, said his client was disappointed with taking an+ early retirement.

“His retirement, though voluntarily, certainly was not the way he would have hoped it would occur,” said Breiner. “Nonetheless, he can proudly say that he served his community and he did an excellent job.”

Breiner added that the turning point was the FBI target letter Kealoha received last month.

“Apparently because of a single letter, that was enough to cause the Police Commission to ask for him to step down,” he said.

“We’re doing what we think is in the best interest of the department and the public,” said Honolulu Police Commissioner Steven Levinson, who’s also a former state Supreme Court justice. Levinson says once the commission approves the retirement agreement, the terms will be made public.

“And so every single word and term of it will be in open view,” he said.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell issued a statement thanking the Police Commission for taking “decisive action” and said he believes “the Commission made the right decision to accept Chief Kealoha’s retirement, and he made the correct decision for the sake of the police department and the thousands of officers who serve with integrity, respect and fairness.”

Four other police officers have received target letters from the FBI, but remain unnamed.