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Honolulu Police Department

Honolulu Police Department
Abbreviation HPD
Patch of the Honolulu Police Department
Badge of the Honolulu Police Department
Agency overview
Formed April 27, 1846
Employees 2,574 (2014)
Annual budget $219,000,000 (FY 2014)
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* City and County of Honolulu in the state of Hawaii, United States
Size 600 square miles (1,600 km2)
Population 953,207
Governing body City and County of Honolulu
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Honolulu, Hawaii
Sworn members 1,973
Unsworn members 601
Agency executive Louis M. Kealoha, Chief of Police
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.
Seal of the City and County of Honolulu

The Honolulu Police Department (HPD) is the principal law enforcement agency of the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii, headquartered in the Alapa'i Police Headquarters in Honolulu CDP.[1]

Officially recognized as a part of the government of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1846, the police department serves the entire island of O'ahu (which is coextensive with the City and County of Honolulu), covering over 600 square miles (1,600 km2) of territory, with just over 900,000 residents[2] (not including military members) and over four million annual visitors. The island is divided into 8 patrol districts which are then subdivided into sectors and beats. HPD currently has more than 2,500 employees, 2,134 of which are full-time sworn officers.[3] A 2003 Department of Justice report listed HPD as the 20th largest police department in the nation.[4]

Unlike the other 49 states, Hawaii does not have a state police agency per se or individual city agencies; law enforcement is the jurisdiction of the individual county governments. HPD is nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and received the CALEA TRI-ARC Excellence Award from them in 2006.[5]


  • Kingdom of Hawaii 1
  • Territory of Hawaii 2
  • Sheriffs of Honolulu 3
  • Establishment 4
  • Martial Law 5
  • Modernization 6
  • Patrol Vehicles 7
  • Rank Structure and Insignia 8
  • Reserves 9
  • Line of Duty Deaths 10
  • Duty Weapons 11
  • In popular culture 12
    • Charlie Chan 12.1
    • Hawaiian Eye 12.2
    • Hawaii Five-O 12.3
    • Magnum, P.I. 12.4
    • Hawaiian Heat 12.5
    • Jake and the Fatman 12.6
    • Hawaii 12.7
  • See also 13
  • References 14
  • External links 15

Kingdom of Hawaii

In 1840, the Supreme Court of Kaua'i, O'ahu, Mau'i and Hawaii. Each sheriff administered a corps of constables officially appointed by the four royal governors. Constables wore a distinct police insignia that consisted of a scarlet crown with the initials KIII in honor of Kamehameha III. The insignia was worn on the arm and on a red band on their police hats.

Territory of Hawaii

In 1893, the Kingdom of Hawaii was replaced by the Provisional Government of Hawaii which quickly deposed the marshal of the kingdom and dissolved the constabulary. In 1894, the newly proclaimed Republic of Hawaii formed its own police system.

After a few years under the governance of the Territory of Hawaii, four county governments were established out of the original administrative regions of the monarchy. In 1905, each county established a police department led by an appointed sheriff. Police officers wore an octagon-shaped police badge similar in appearance to those of other police departments of the period. In the 1920s the badge was redesigned with an eagle on top.

Sheriffs of Honolulu

In Hawaii, the Office of Sheriff falls under the Sheriff Division of the Hawaii Department of Public Safety. It is the functional equivalent of a state police department and has the distinction of making Hawaii the only U.S. state without an officially named state police department and one of two with a statewide Sheriff's Department (the other being Rhode Island). Although the Sheriff Division's jurisdiction covers the entire state, its primary functions are judicial and executive protection, security at the Hawaii State Capitol, law-enforcement at Hawaii's airports, narcotics enforcement, prisoner transportation, the processing and service of court orders and warrants, and the patrol of certain roads and waterways in conjunction with other state agencies.[6]

Additional statewide law enforcement is provided by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) which patrols State lands, State Parks, historic sites, forest reserves, aquatic life and wildlife areas, coastal zones, Conservation districts, State beaches, as well as county ordinances involving county parks.[7] The division also enforces laws relating to firearms, ammunition, and dangerous weapons. DLNR officers have full police powers.


In response to a crime wave in the late 1920s and early 1930s as a combined result of increased racial tensions between whites and local ethnics and the outcome of the Massie case involving too much political influence on the Police, Territorial Governor Lawrence M. Judd appointed a Governor's Advisory Committee on Crime. The committee recommended that a police commission be appointed by the mayor of Honolulu whose duty would be to appoint a chief of police and to supervise the operating of the police department. The committee also advised that the office of sheriff should be retained and charged with the duty of serving civil process, of maintaining the Honolulu prison system and to act as coroner. On January 22, 1932, a special session of the territorial legislature passed Act 1, establishing the Honolulu Police Commission and creating the office of chief of police. Thus was born the modern Honolulu Police Department as it exists today.

Martial Law

After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Territorial Governor Joseph B. Poindexter declared martial law and Hawaii fell under military governance under the Judge Advocate General's Corps. The Honolulu Police Department became a deputized military force. The word "Emergency" was etched above the "Honolulu" on the seven-point star badges of police officers. For the duration of World War II, the Honolulu Police Department was forced to impose restrictions on civil liberties and hand people over for trial by a military judge. Martial law ended after the end of the war in 1945.

The San José State Spartans football team served with the Honolulu Police Department for the duration of World War II; the team had played a game against the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Warriors, but were stranded in Hawaii after the Pearl Harbor attack.


A Honolulu Police Car across the Waikiki Police Station.

The first instance of modernization came in 1952 with the introduction of the Honolulu Police Department's current badge. It was designed by Detective Alfred Karratti and embodies Hawaiian tradition and culture in its motifs. One feature that Detective Karratti kept was the use of the Pulo'ulo'u or kapu staffs. They are symbols of law and order from ancient Hawaii.

In 1976 Sister Roberta Julie Derby became the first female police chaplain in the U.S. and would later go on to win the medal of valor for defusing a hostage situation.[8]

The most aggressive programs of modernization for the Honolulu Police Department came in the 1990s. It was furnished with a fleet of new Ford Crown Victoria police cars equipped with on-board computers and a fleet of BMW police motorcycles. Officers also have the choice of using their own private vehicle for law enforcement duties as part of a subsidized program. The vehicle has sirens installed and removable blue police light which is put on the roof of the officers' car. On October 16, 1992, the Honolulu Police Department opened its multimillion-dollar state-of-the-art police headquarters in downtown Honolulu. The building was called Hale Maka'i and featured the latest technical advances of its time including a DNA crime lab unit, one of the first of its kind in the nation.

Patrol Vehicles

As of 2015, the Honolulu Police Department has been transitioning to the Ford Taurus Police Interceptor as the Ford Crown Victoria is no longer in production. The Ford Crown Victoria is still used within the fleet as well as a small fleet of the Ford Fusion Hybrid, which are mainly used in the city areas such as Waikiki and Downtown.

As Officers progress through their career they are offered a choice to purchase a subsidized vehicle, off a specified list, to use for patrol and private usage. Officers with a subsidized vehicle are given a monthly allowance for the purchase and maintenance of the vehicle with fuel provided by the department under certain guidelines. Although subsidized vehicles are unmarked, they can be identified by having a blue dome light or a mini LED light bar at the center of the vehicle, and are equipped with emergency sirens to be used for on-duty purposes only. The Honolulu Police Department is one of few departments that allow Officers to use subsidized vehicles for patrol usage as it lowers the department's budget compared to having all fleet vehicles.

Rank Structure and Insignia

The Honolulu Police Department follows a paramilitary like ranking structure. They are identified as follow,

Rank Insignia Badge Color
Chief of Police 4 Stars on each shoulder Gold. Rank inscribed on badge. Badge number is #1
Deputy Chief 3 Stars on each shoulder Gold. Rank inscribed on badge
Assistant Chief 2 Stars on each shoulder Gold. Rank inscribed on badge
Major 3 Kukui nuts on each shoulder Gold. Rank inscribed on badge
Captain 2 Kukui nuts on each shoulder Gold. Rank inscribed on badge
Lieutenant 1 Kukui nut on each shoulder Gold. Rank inscribed on badge
Sergeant/Detective 3 Bar Chevron on each sleeve Gold. Rank inscribed on badge
Corporal 2 Bar Chevron on each sleeve Silver. Rank inscribed on badge
Officer No Insignia Silver. Rank inscribed on badge

Officers may have stars located on the right side chest area of their uniform. This does not indicate rank but the amount of years service with each star indicating 5 years of service with the Honolulu Police Department. All uniformed emergency response personnel in the State of Hawaii generally follow this practice and does not carry on from one agency to the next.


Back in 1941, to provide for any eventuality that may occur, Honolulu Police Chief William A. Gabrielson and the Oahu Police Commission set out to establish an emergency police reserve force. 150 business and professional men responded to the call for volunteers. The Federal Bureau of Investigation helped to screen interested applicants, and 124 candidates were appointed on July 23, 1941. They completed the required training and within four months became commissioned Honolulu Police reserve officers. When enemy planes attacked Pearl Harbor, the police reserves responded to the attack. Since then, reserve officers have augmented the regular Honolulu Police Department force with many man-hours of volunteer police work. The Honolulu Police Reserves are composed of men and women from the community who volunteer each week to work alongside regular police officers. A police reserve officer must be willing to serve without compensation or financial obligation from the City and County of Honolulu. A police reserve officer is required to report for duty at least once a week for a minimum five hour tour of duty.

Police Chaplains are also considered reserve officers in their duties to the department. They are commissioned officers without police powers. The Chaplain corps assist the Peer Support Unit in responding to crisis and intervention with officers and employees of the department. Chaplains have distinguished themselves within their profession and the general law enforcement community.

Line of Duty Deaths

As of 2013, 45 Honolulu Police Department officers have been killed in the line of duty. The Department webpage lists all of them on a "Roll of Honor".[9]

Cause Incidents
Car accident 6
Electrocution 1
Gunfire 14
Heart attack 1
Helicopter accident 4
Motorcycle accident 13
Stabbing 1
Struck by vehicle 5

Duty Weapons

The standard issue firearm for Honolulu Police Officers is the Glock 17. Prior to 2014, officers were issued the Smith and Wesson model 5906 but have since been phased out due to the age of the pistol and limited availability of parts. For their service weapon, officers are not allowed to carry anything other than the standard sidearm but officers are eligible for weapons allowances to purchase handguns (as backup weapons or off-duty carry), rifles, and shotguns.

Approved long guns can be the AR-15 rifle, Remington 870 or Benelli M1 (Super 90) shotgun. Although most Officers carry their own personal long guns while on duty, respective stations throughout the island have a small arsenal of AR-15 rifles and less than lethal shotguns in the event they are needed.

In popular culture

The Honolulu Police Department has been the backdrop of several famous works of fiction, in literature, television and in motion pictures.

Charlie Chan

One of the most famous fictional literary detectives attached to the Honolulu Police Department was Charlie Chan. Chan, inspired in part by the career of HPD vice detective Chang Apana, was created in the 1920s by Earl Derr Biggers and had become one of the most important figures in American mystery fiction. In addition to being the hero of six novels, Chan became the subject of some forty films between the 1930s and 1950s. He, along with his family, was also made the subject of a short-lived ABC/Hanna-Barbera cartoon series in the mid-1970s. His career spanned from 1898-1932.

Hawaiian Eye

From October 1959 to September 1963, Hawaiian Eye was a crime drama aired on the American Broadcasting Company television network. Actors Robert Conrad and Anthony Eisley played private detectives fighting crime in Honolulu. Connie Stevens played Cricket, a singer at the Hawaiian Village Hotel bar which the guys frequented at least once a show. Mel Prestidge played Lt. Danny Quon, a Honolulu Police Lieutenant.

Hawaii Five-O

The most famous Hawaii based crime drama was Hawaii Five-O which aired on the CBS television network from September 1968 to April 1980. Until Law & Order, Hawaii Five-O was the longest running crime series on American television. Jack Lord starred as Steve McGarrett, head of the elite state law enforcement office which worked alongside the chief of the Honolulu Police Department. James MacArthur starred as Danny Williams, McGarrett's right-hand man. McGarrett and "Dano" were straight-laced men with extreme dedication to law and justice fighting the forces of evil around the islands, especially in seedy downtown dives. Kam Fong (who played Det. Chin Ho Kelly) was, in real life, a former HPD officer during World War Two.

A modern-day remake of the series began airing in September 2010.

Magnum, P.I.

From December 1980 to September 1988, Magnum, P.I. aired on the same network as Hawaii Five-O (in fact, some of the shooting was done on the same sound stage). Starring Tom Selleck as former U.S. Naval Intelligence and SEAL officer (and Detroit native) Thomas Magnum, Magnum, P.I. is about a private investigator working closely with Honolulu Police Department officers Nolan Page and Yoshi Tanaka, while trying to enjoy the "easy life" at the estate of a very reclusive mystery writer named "Robin Masters" and his "butler" Jonathan Higgins (played by Texas-born veteran actor John Hillerman). The series was widely applauded for being the first to recognize the difficulty Vietnam War veterans faced in making the readjustment to civilian life. Many episodes touched upon the impact that serving in Vietnam had on Magnum and his friends, as well as echoes to events of World War II.

Hawaiian Heat

Hawaiian Heat was a short-lived series (September–December 1984) that was heavily hyped by ABC during its 1984 Olympics coverage. It starred Robert Ginty and Jeff McCracken as two Chicago cops who bag their boring jobs in the frozen Windy City to become detectives in paradise; their boss was played by veteran actor Mako Iwamatsu. Many of the episodes were directed by reclusive African-American actor/director Ivan Dixon.

Jake and the Fatman

From September 1987 to March 1992, CBS Television (in conjunction with Dean Hargrove Productions and the former Viacom Television) aired a spin-off for a Matlock character. The show was called Jake and the Fatman about Los Angeles County District Attorney Jason Lochnivar McCade (played by veteran radio/TV actor William Conrad) and his Chief Investigator, Jake Styles (played by Joe Penny). In the second season, CBS executives decided to film in Hawaii instead (having McCabe quit as DA for Los Angeles to become the Prosecuting Attorney in Honolulu), so the entire cast (including the show's mascot, a bulldog named Max) was sent to Honolulu. After two seasons in Hawaii, the series returned to L.A.


In August 2004, NBC introduced the police series Hawaii. The show featured an elite Honolulu Police Department detective squad charged with fighting the most notorious of Hawaiʻi mob criminals. Starring in the show were Michael Biehn from The Terminator as Sean Harrison, Sharif Atkins from ER as John Declan, Ivan Sergei from Crossing Jordan as Danny Edwards, Eric Balfour from Six Feet Under as Christopher Gains, and newcomers Aya Sumika as Linh Tamiya and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Captain Terry Harada. Jeff Eastin was the creator and executive producer. Daniel Sackheim from the defunct series The Lyon's Den directed. The series was canceled after eight episodes, partly due to strong competition from another show produced in Hawaii, ABC's Lost.

See also


  1. ^ "Contacting HPD." Honolulu Police Department. Retrieved on May 19, 2010.
  2. ^ Gima, Craig (2008-03-20). "Population on Oahu down, up on other isles | | News | /2008/03/20/". Retrieved 2012-07-07. 
  3. ^ FL Morris / "Hawaii News - Honolulu Star-Advertiser". Retrieved 2012-07-07. 
  4. ^ Reaves, Brian (2011-09-26). "Local Police Department, 2007" (PDF). Washington, DC, USA:  
  5. ^ "CALEA TRI-ARC Excellence Award Presented". CALEA® - The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. Gainesville, VA, USA:  
  6. ^ Sheriff Division, Hawaii Department of Public Safety
  7. ^ DLNR
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Roll of Honor". Honolulu Police Department. Archived from the original on 25 September 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 

External links

  • Official website
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