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Hawaii Legislature passes bill to name suspended police

HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii Legislature passed a police reform bill that would reveal the identities of police officers who have been suspended or discharged.

The bill passed Monday would subject police to the same disclosure rules used for other public agency employees, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

The changes to the Uniform Information Practices Act would require police departments to disclose the officers’ identities after suspension or discharge.

The measure would also allow public access to information related to the suspension or discharge of a police officer.

The state already names other public employees who are disciplined or fired after a grievance process has been exhausted.

County police chiefs are currently required to file annual reports with the Legislature describing misconduct leading to suspensions and terminations. But the reports do not include officers’ names and normally there is only a brief explanation.

Democratic state Rep. Chris Lee said the bill would reverse a decision made years ago to withhold names of officers even after they exhausted their grievance rights.

“For 25 years in Hawaii, we have, as a state, erred on the side of secrecy with respect to some misconduct records,” said Lee, the House Judiciary Committee chairman.

Members and supporters of the state’s police union, the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, rallied at the state Capitol Monday in opposition to the bill.

Union leaders said the bill would allow an officer suspended for as little as a day to be named and would violate due-process rights provided by the County Civil Service Rules and the collective bargaining agreement with all Hawaii counties.

Democratic state Rep. Sharon Har cited union arguments that the measure would expose the names of police officers accused of misconduct before they are allowed due process, including the right to grievance hearings.

Suspensions could result from an infraction as minor as tardiness, the union said.

The bill now goes to the Gov. David Ige for his consideration.

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