HPD sets domestic violence meeting with women lawmakers

Just days after cancelling a meeting with lawmakers to discuss domestic violence concerns, Honolulu’s police chief has agreed again to sit down with them.

Chief Louis Kealoha was supposed to meet with the Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus and Honolulu City Council members last Thursday.

Lawmakers want to discuss policies and procedures after surveillance video showed an off-duty HPD sergeant assaulting a woman at a Waipahu restaurant.

Several lawmakers told KHON2 News the meeting will be held tomorrow at police headquarters.

Policies, procedures and training — just some of the topics lawmakers hope to discuss with the chief on Tuesday.

“What currently is their curriculum within the academy, and are there refreshers to remind people how to handle domestic violence cases,” said State Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland.

The senator plans to be there, along with other members of the caucus and the city council. As a group, they say they were contacted by the chief’s office and spent the past couple of days trying to organize it.

On Thursday, the chief said he canceled the meeting the first time around because he didn’t know how a large group was attending the meeting, and he needed more time to create an agenda and to reserve a meeting location.

“I’m glad that HPD is meeting with the caucus,” said Cathy Betts, executive director of the State Commission on the Status of Women. She is supporting lawmakers with statistics and other information.

“There were several complaints from the Waianae district, as well as Makiki and Kapolei,” she said, “but I’ve also heard from other victims that they will not report a violation to the Kailua (police station) and they will not report a violation to Waikiki.”

Experts say some women don’t report cases to the police because sometimes they’re made to feel as if they’ve done something wrong.

“Some victims say that they experience victim-blaming behavior,” Betts said. “‘Why are you still with him?’ ‘How come I have to see you every week when you report a violation but then you go back?'”

Betts believes this is the first step towards transparency with the HPD. Sen. Chun Oakland thinks this could open doors on a state level, possibly exploring options on how to look for domestic violence in other places, including government workers.

“Do we train ourselves, can we train ourselves to look for domestic violence within our employees’ families?” the senator said.

In the meantime, the HPD sergeant that started all this discussion has not been arrested. The police department continues to investigate the incident.

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