It’s not often that a public official admits that the agency they oversee has a transparency problem.

But that’s exactly what Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha did on Thursday during a press conference about HPD’s domestic violence policies.

“The reason we have all this second guessing and confusion is because sometimes the police department isn’t as transparent as we should be,” Kealoha told reporters.

It’s also one of the reasons many people have said they’ve lost trust in HPD, especially when it comes to the agency investigating and disciplining its own officers.

The department has come under fire as of late for how it has handled the Sgt. Darren Cachola domestic violence case.

HPD Police Chief Louis Kealoha ponders a question from the media during news conference concerning domestic violence on September 18, 2014.

HPD Police Chief Louis Kealoha ponders a question from the media during a news conference concerning domestic violence.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Cachola was recently caught on a surveillance video taking multiple swings at his girlfriend in a Waipahu restaurant.

He’s currently under investigation by HPD as are the officers who responded to the incident because no arrests were made and questions have been raised about proper protocol being followed.

But the department has a long history of protecting its officers from the public eye when they break the rules, in part due to the strong police union.

(For more on that you can read Civil Beat’s investigative series, In the Name of the Law, that examines the lack of transparency surrounding police misconduct.)

Now, Kealoha is considering opening up his department to more scrutiny, at least when it comes to its policies and procedures.

During the press conference, he said he’s been in discussions with others to post HPD’s policies online for the public to view.

That would be a big change for the department, which today charges for access to those policies and sometimes redacts certain information from the documents, which is also charged to the person requesting the document.

“We support any efforts toward greater transparency in government.” — Dan Gluck, ACLU of Hawaii attorney

For example, Civil Beat in the past requested — and paid for — HPD’s policies on officer-involved shootings and use of force. Passages and sometimes pages are blacked out of those documents.

Dan Gluck is the senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii. He’s has also been been charged for access to HPD’s policies, including those regarding response to school violence, crime scene investigations and the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement.

The ACLU posts all of these policies on its website after receiving them from HPD, but Gluck said he would welcome having that information made widely available.

“We support any efforts toward greater transparency in government,” Gluck said. “To the extent that HPD wants to make more of its policies and procedures available to the public that’s probably a good step.”

Kealoha said there are more than 200 policies. The department still hasn’t decided whether it will follow through with its idea putting all that information online.

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