Mayor to appoint retired justice as new Honolulu Police Commission chair

The Honolulu Police Commission lineup is set to change again as a grand jury targeting the police chief and his wife continues.

On Tuesday, Mayor Kirk Caldwell will appoint retired state Supreme Court justice Steven Levinson.

“I am honored to be given the unexpected opportunity to serve on the Police Commission,” Levinson said in a statement. “As a practicing attorney for 17 years, a criminal trial judge for three years, and State Supreme Court Justice for 17 years, one of the primary focuses of my career has been the effective administration of law enforcement. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to make a difference by bringing these experiences and unique perspectives to the commission.”

View Levinson’s application here.

Levinson would take the place of Ron Taketa, the commission’s current chairman, who is in an expired holdover position.

“I am extremely happy with the nomination of Judge Levinson to the Police Commission,” Taketa said in a statement. “To have someone of his character and caliber step up to serve is a credit to the Commission and the good work they do. I want to thank those who have served on the Commission with me, all the men and women in Blue who keep us safe, and the public for the privilege of serving. It has been an honor.”

Caldwell most recent commission appointment, Loretta Sheehan, has already taken issue with the board’s wait-and-see position on the federal investigation.

The board has said it did not have cause to fire the chief unless or until indictments came down for review.

A charter amendment up for vote next month would give the police commission a lower bar for what constitutes cause to terminate a police chief, and would give commissioners subpoena powers for independent investigations.

The appointment requires City Council confirmation, which could come as soon as December.

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