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Caldwell Nominates 2 For Honolulu Police Commission As National Debate On Police Reform Escalates

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced his nominations for two vacancies on the Honolulu Police Commission on Monday. Michael Broderick, the current president and CEO of the YMCA of Honolulu, and Doug Chin, former Hawaii attorney general, were nominated for the panel.

Broderick has served as administrative director of the Hawaii State Judiciary and director of its Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution. He has also been a Family Court judge and has worked with the Los Angeles police commission.

Chin previously served as a deputy prosecuting attorney and city managing director under former prosecuting attorney and Mayor Peter Carlisle. Chin currently works for the law firm Starn, O’Toole, Marcus and Fisher.

If they are approved by the Honolulu City Council, Broderick and Chin will fill two of three vacancies on the commission. Caldwell says the city is still vetting a third candidate.

Former commission chair Loretta Sheehan and former vice-chair Steve Levinson resigned earlier this month. They said they were frustrated with the commission’s lack of power and ability to create change.

Sheehan and Levinson were both vocal advocates for reform during their time on the police commission.

Both were influential in Susan Ballard’s selection as police chief in 2017. In 2018, Sheehan cast the only vote against granting a $250,000 settlement to former police chief Louis Kealoha, who was found guilty last year of obstruction, conspiracy and fraud.

The current members of the police commission are Chair Shannon Alivado, Vice Chair Jerry Gibson, Carrie Okinaga and Richard Parry.

The majority of the powers held by the police commission include reviewing and investigating actions made by the police. However, it does have the power to suspend or remove the chief of police any time during a five-year tenure, according to the Revised Charter of the City and County of Honolulu.

Broderick and Chin expressed their support of police reform.

Caldwell and Broderick said they don’t support any moves to defund the police department, which some have advocated in the wake of the death of Minnesota resident George Floyd. Floyd died after Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes. Chauvin faces murder charges.

Broderick says he does support policies such as banning chokeholds and eliminating shooting at moving vehicles. He also supports more training and conversations about institutional racism with Ballard.

“Like the mayor, I think one of our jobs is to make sure that the police department and the police commission is operating with as much transparency as possible,” Broderick said.

Chin said he’s interested in speaking with Honolulu City Council to get their views on police reform as well.

The nominations come after nationwide outrage and protests over police brutality and the death of Floyd. 

Movements such as Black Lives Matter have called for more transparency and police reform in departments across the nation.

“I think if there’s any lesson that we’ve learned from the past few weeks, especially, it’s how important transparency matters to really being able to hold people accountable. I think it’s what the public expects and what we should be providing,” Chin said.

During a press conference on Monday afternoon, Ballard answered questions about transparency between the police department and the public. She said under the Uniform Information Practices Act (Chapter 92F), the police department does not have to release the names of officers who are suspended, fired or the subject of complaints.

When questioned about other measures of reform, Ballard supported more social workers within the police department to help in such cases as mental health and homelessness.

While Chin and Broderick answered questions about their stance on certain policies and reform, Broderick says that he is still learning.

“Like Doug, I haven’t sat yet one day as a member of the police commission, and so I think it would be arrogant of me to stand here today and say I have all the answers about what changes need to be made,” Broderick said. “I need to initially go in and listen a lot.”

Broderick and Chin await approval by the City Council.

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