Hawaii passes police reform bill that discloses names of suspended officers

The Legislature passed a police reform bill Monday that would make public the identities of police officers who have been suspended or discharged, putting them on equal footing with other public agency employees.

House Judiciary Chairman Chris Lee said the bill would reverse a decision made 25 years ago to withhold the names of officers even after they have exhausted their grievance rights.

“For 25 years in Hawaii, we have, as a state, erred on the side of secrecy with respect to some misconduct records,” said Lee.

A few dozen members and supporters of the police union, the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, rallied at the state Capitol rotunda Monday morning in opposition to the bill.

They wore shirts saying, “We protect all families. Protect ours.”

SHOPO leaders said the bill would allow an officer who was suspended for as little as a day to be named, saying it violates their due-process rights provided by the County Civil Service Rules and the collective bargaining agreement with all Hawaii counties. (read more)