Fellow Hawaiians, please watch this short clip. The video refers to GAPOST, the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training agency, a State agency that certifies individuals to be certified law enforcement officers. Many states employ a state agency, many with the acronym POST, that has uniform training standards and, apart from individual agencies that employ the officer, city, county and state police departments, determines whether a person can be a cop anywhere in the state. They can decertify a person. In some states just merely using drugs one time while a law enforcement officer means automatic decertification. The same with committing a crime, such as DUI. Without certification you can’t be a cop anywhere in the state. Now, did you know that in Hawaii there is no state agency that provides uniform standards for officers, no agency that can decertify individuals? The Honolulu Police Commission, for example, can hear your complaints about various allegations including, for example abuse of power, and even make findings that substantiate the allegations but they can’t do anything. The police commission investigations are considered confidential and it takes a lot of litigation to have those documents produced and subpoenaed. If the police commission does substantiate an allegation, the matter is referred back to the employing agency. Also, it may come as a surprise to many Hawaiians but the videos you see in this clip where the officer is interviewed by internal affairs, your defense attorneys in Hawaii, we just don’t get those items. The prosecutors fight the requests and many a deputy prosecutor has stated on the record that they don’t do any checking to see if there are commission documents. The list referred to the in the video about officers arrested, well, the police unions and the legislature have joined together to ensure that those facts, documents and interviews are never seen by either the public nor defendants who have been arrested by a particular officer. I am proud to say that I have been fighting for disclosure of these materials for my clients for years and now I am starting to see some beneficial orders from judges.
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