In response to complaints, the Honolulu Ethics Commission found that former
Deputy Police Chief Delbert Tatsuyama used his official City position to obtain special treatment from Honolulu Police Department for a Scouting event.
Click here for the full advisory opinion.
Deputy Chief Tatsuyama’s son was a member of the affected Scout group, according to the commission. Almost 30 police officers worked the event, 10 of whom were on overtime. The overtime expense was $2,673.49 and Mr. Tatsuyama has agreed to reimburse the city.
According to the commission, Deputy Chief Tatsuyama went outside normal procedures to have HPD sponsor the "Say Hi" event. He directly contacted the commands of divisions, including the Ke Kula Makai Training Facility and asked for the academy to be opened on a Sunday, when it was normally closed. He actively oversaw and arranged for HPD to feature some of its most sophisticated and
interesting services and equipment -- helicopter, armored vehicle, bomb robots, bomb truck, and Canine unit -- along with two Bicycle Details for the 28 scouts present during the two-and-a-half-hour presentation that was conducted by 26 HPD officers.
During the planning of the event, Deputy Chief Tatsuyama was warned that the event would require significant overtime and that other small Scout groups had been denied when they asked for weekend events with similar police demonstrations.
Although he did not explicitly order his subordinates to participate, the Commission stated that "when the Chief or Deputy Chief of Police makes a work-related request to a subordinate officer there is a real concern that the request will be treated tantamount to an order. In other words, high rank brings with it the possibility of inherent coercion of the lower ranks."
HPD has a strict requirement in its standards of conduct for a high level of cooperation among the ranks and units -- "With the greater authority of command, comes higher responsibility to know the ethics laws and greater consequences for failing to follow them."
In setting the fine the commission weighs several factors stated in the ethics laws. The commission noted that the misconduct related to one event and that Mr. Tatsuyama had been cooperative and truthful during the investigation. He offered to pay for the overtime expense.
The commission did not believe that he intended to abuse his authority and had no intent to conceal or mislead the investigation.