Lee Cataluna: So Much For HPD's Fresh Start With A New Chief - Honolulu Civil Beat


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Lee Cataluna

Lee Cataluna is a columnist for Civil Beat. You can reach her by email at lcataluna@civilbeat.org

Opinion article badgeJust stop. This is starting out so badly, there’s no point in hoping for the best anymore, only hoping that it won’t get really bad, and that’s messed up.

Joe Logan should not be Honolulu’s police chief.

Not because his son has a lengthy and active criminal resume filled with exactly the sort of violent felonies and street-level mayhem that have become the scourge of our island.

Not because the day after Logan was named the new chief of police, his son was arrested maybe 2 miles away from the main police station and charged with assaulting someone with a hand tool in broad daylight.

Not because Logan is the parent of a troubled 36-year-old he can’t control. We all know nice people who, seemingly through no fault of their own, have troubled kids. We feel badly for them, (though when the kid is younger, we feel it’s fair to ask, “What’s wrong with the parents? Why can’t they straighten out their kid?”)

Logan shouldn’t be HPD’s chief because Honolulu is in no shape to handle another chief of police with a troubled family member. The Louis and Katherine Kealoha drama was enough.

How could the police commission not anticipate this messy complication? Either no one talked to beat cops who are all too familiar with habitual offender Zane Logan, or the cops who knew the scope of the problem didn’t want to say anything because it’s too dangerous to speak the truth at HPD.

Maybe Logan himself minimized the situation and had his fingers crossed that nothing would happen, though the threat of another arrest must have been hanging over him like the sword of Damocles ready to crash down on the prospect of the job.

Before this week’s arrest, Zane Logan was last arrested on May 3 on a bench warrant for a felony theft charge and held in Oahu Community Correctional Center until he was released the next day on $7,500 bail. That was during the commission’s selection process. The guy is a habitual offender. For those close to him, it must feel like the next time could happen at any time.

The Star-Advertiser’s Peter Boylan talked to a 70-year old Waikiki man who detailed his history with the new police chief’s son. It is a harrowing tale of fear and violence and useless restraining orders, but one that will strike a familiar chord with too many Oahu residents who have had to defend themselves against the unhinged criminal element that has taken hold of too many streets.

After years of corrupt or fumbling leadership of the department, people were looking to the new chief to have some answers, some new ideas for restoring confidence in the force and maybe even reducing crime. It’s now impossible to look to Logan for that and not think, “Where was he when his son was threatening the Waikiki man with words like, ‘I’m going to f— you up, old man?’”

Was it too much to ask for a police chief who knows how to successfully handle a chronic menace?  I mean, the rest of us are grasping at straws. Isn’t the new leader supposed to have new ideas?

HPD Honolulu Police Department vehicle parked along Kalakaua Avenue.
The current drama and past history surrounding new HPD Chief Joe Logan’s son, Zane, should prompt Logan to decline the job and the police commission to pick someone else. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

Logan’s family situation already had cops second-guessing whether to treat his son’s arrest differently, whether to include his arrest on the regular media log, and he hadn’t even started on the job yet. That doesn’t go away with public statements like, “No special treatment.”

Police officers will be chasing Zane Logan around and will always be wondering what to do if they catch him. How is a victim of a smash-and-grab going to feel wondering if the perp is related to someone high up in the department? Every defense attorney will compare their client to the treatment the chief’s son got.

Compassion and understanding are due. We are all human, and each person should stand on their own merit. But HPD doesn’t need that right now. HPD needs a capital-B Boss to snap the entire department into shape, and it is impossible to do that job when your son is on a first-name basis with your officers.

It’s important to have empathy for a parent who has a troubled child, but that doesn’t mean he’s a good fit to lead a troubled police department. Maybe it isn’t fair to ask, “If you can’t get your kid straightened out, how are you going to straighten out the entire police department?” … but a lot of people are asking that question right now.

Enough.

We know where this is going; more distractions, more drama.

Logan and his family should be able to deal with their situation in private. When your dad is chief of police, every misstep is going to end up on the front page, every judgment call questioned. When your dad is the chief of people, the public has a right to know about every arrest and citation.

The Honolulu Police Department needed a clean start. This start is not clean. It’s starting out on a swaying tightrope, not on solid ground. Logan needs to decline the job offer and the commission has to try again. Honolulu cannot handle any more drama.


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About the Author

Lee Cataluna

Lee Cataluna is a columnist for Civil Beat. You can reach her by email at lcataluna@civilbeat.org


Latest Comments (0)

I hope Civil Beat will try to interview Mr. Logan and the commissioners to find out how in the world they thought this was going to turn out any way other than it has. I'd really like to know!

JakeJacobs · 3 months ago

Lee is absolutely right. It's enough already. Resign, or the Police Commission should recognize mistake, ask for his resignation or let him go. Isn't there a probation period for this position? If not, Commission sure needs to recommend this and be sure it happens.

gbreakey · 3 months ago

First of all, I have to say that Lee's article is really very good and well done.But the main problem isn't Logan and his son. The main problem is that corruption is still a big problem in the HPD and especially at the lowest level. The HPD is rigged. A few police officers have forgotten what the main job of the police is: to protect the public and punish the bad guys. Unfortunately, the reality is different. It’s just the opposite with some law enforcement officers. No matter what position someone holds in the police force. Bribes should always be taboo, but unfortunately they aren’t.Logan's biggest task will be to clean up and restore HPD's reputation that the public trusts and respects the police again. Whether he can do that or screw it up remains to be seen.In my opinion, Logan isn’t the right person for the job. HPD needs a hardliner and Logan won’t be that because of his family situation.Lee wrote that Honolulu can't handle any more drama. True. But it won’t be avoided because there will be a drama either way …

Gas_Panic · 3 months ago

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