After a nearly year-long search, the Honolulu Police Commission on Monday unanimously voted to appoint Arthur “Joe” Logan to be the new chief of the Honolulu Police Department.

Logan, a retired major general with the military who has been working as a criminal investigator with the Hawaii Attorney General’s Office, was ultimately selected from a field of more than 20 candidates initially considered for the position after former Chief Susan Ballard retired on June 1 amid criticism over her performance.

Logan’s resume includes 41 years of military experience and two decades of service with HPD, from 1982 until 2002, where he made sergeant and worked as a detective on the robbery detail for the department’s Criminal Investigation Division.

He was the state’s adjutant general and head of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency when an employee mistakenly sent out an alert that a missile was about to hit Hawaii causing widespread panic. He retired from the National Guard a few months later and more recently worked for the AG’s office.

Honolulu Police Commission voted unanimously for Arthur Logan as the next Honolulu Police Department Chief.
Honolulu Police Commission voted unanimously to make Joe Logan the next Honolulu Police Department chief. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

The search has been largely conducted by consulting firm PSI Services, which was contracted in December and whittled the field of applicants down to four finalists — Logan, former New Jersey State Police Lt. Col. Scott Ebner, HPD Maj. Mike Lambert and HPD Maj. Ben Moszkowicz — announced less than two weeks ago. Until then, the commission did not know the identities of any of the candidates.

A week after the finalists were named, all answered questions from the public during a televised forum on PBS Hawaii which aired Thursday. Logan discussed his thoughts on the importance of officer wellness, regaining the trust of the public and reappraising the requirements to join the police department in hopes to improve recruitment numbers.

Commissioners interviewed the four finalists on Saturday, and on Monday the four appeared at a commission meeting, where they each gave statements before answering questions.

Logan began by highlighting his military experience which includes a May 2007 deployment to Kabul, Afghanistan, where he was responsible for training Afghan police forces. He also discussed both his immediate and long-term plans for the department.

“The pillars that I believe require immediate action are building trust and legitimacy, officer education and training, and officer health and wellness,” Logan told commissioners.

“My vision for HPD is for the next 20 years, not just the five years of this term,” he added.

Commissioners then questioned Logan about the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency alert that mistakenly stated a missile was about to strike Hawaii in 2018, which occurred when Logan was head of the agency.

A corrected alert was not sent out until 38 minutes after the initial false alert, which told residents to take shelter, stating “THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” The mishap sparked widespread panic and anger across the state, sparked investigations and ultimately exposed flaws in oversight of the federal warning system, according to a U.S. Homeland Security Report.

Commissioner Ann Botticelli asked Logan whether he learned anything from the incident. Logan responded by calling the alert a “very unfortunate mistake that caused undue panic” that taught him to fixate on the small details of a role instead of taking solely a big-picture approach.

“It is something as simple as on-screen and a button to be pushed that allowed this to happen and that should have never happened,” Logan said. “So to me, it’s ‘do sweat everything’ and you make sure from top to bottom, left to right, that you’ve covered every base and looked at every contingency.”

Logan added that, in the end, the incident uncovered issues with the alert system.

“I think our nation as a whole, I think we have a much better alert system unfortunately because of my mistake,” he said.

Commissioners later said that they appreciated that Logan did not shift blame and held himself accountable for the mistake.

After all finalists appeared before the commission, commissioners immediately voted on their two top candidates and narrowed the field to Logan and Scott Ebner, the retired New Jersey State Police officer.

Commissioners then discussed their opinions on Logan and Ebner before voting unanimously on Logan.

Commissioners Jerry Gibson and Richard Parry voiced support for Ebner, who had expressed his intention to take an analytical approach to policing that would include publicly available crime and overdose data. 

“What I liked about Lieutenant Colonel Ebner is I think he’s really our modern police chief,” Gibson said. 

“It’s difficult for someone to come in to Hawaii and begin right away because there’s no real relationships, but on the other side, there’s no issues either,” he added. 

Moments later, Commissioner Doug Chin said Ebner’s unfamiliarity with Oahu would hold the department back and said that the consultant had already identified that as Ebner’s weakness. 

“It won’t take three months for him to get on board,” Chin said. “It’ll take a year because it took me a year to understand the city and how the city works.”

Commission Chair Shannon Alivado followed Chin by saying that Ebner’s background with the New Jersey State Police was not enough to outweigh Logan’s “established relationship” in the state. 

Commissioners then held a vote and voted unanimously for Logan. 

“Mr. Logan brings both knowledge of Hawaii and strong executive leadership to HPD,” Alivado said in a statement after the meeting. “We were especially impressed by his successful recruitment efforts while serving in the National Guard, and his commitment to promoting officer wellness.”

Following his appointment, Logan received the support of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers President Robert Cavaco, who congratulated the retired military general on his return to the department.

“With violent crime continuing to rise, coupled with our severe staffing shortage, we are hopeful that Chief Logan will work collaboratively with SHOPO and the rank-and-file officers we represent to immediately address these challenges,” Cavaco wrote. “SHOPO is committed to rolling up our sleeves and getting to work because procrastination will only worsen our problems for our department and the residents we serve.”

Mayor Rick Blangiardi, who held a brief press conference after the announcement, said he is looking forward to meeting with Logan.

“Chief Logan steps into this important role at a critical time, and I offer my warm congratulations to both he and his family on being named the next leader of the Honolulu Police Department,” Blangiardi said in a press release. “Building back public trust and restoring morale within HPD need to be top priorities, and I look forward to sitting down with Chief Logan as soon as possible to discuss his vision for this crucial task.”

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