The board was supposed to set minimum standards in 2019.

The board charged with overseeing police statewide still can’t develop standards, leaving Hawaii the only state unable to certify its law enforcement officers.

However, the Law Enforcement Standards Board is now just one meeting away from possibly approving its bylaws and job descriptions for the two vacant positions it needs to function.

“We’re inching our way to getting those positions filled,” said Adrian Dhakhwa, a deputy attorney general and LESB vice chair, Wednesday.

That means the board, composed of top law enforcement officials, won’t take up its key task of setting minimum requirements for officers until 2024 at the earliest.

Top law enforcement officials, including Honolulu Police Chief Joe Logan, Kauai Police Chief Todd Raybuck and Attorney General Anne Lopez, finalized job descriptions for the Law Enforcement Standards Board during the board’s Wednesday meeting.

Dhakhwa hopes to fill the vacancies, for an administrator and an assistant, by the end of the year, but the board will vote on the job descriptions at a meeting that could occur next month, he said.

Without the jobs filled, it’s hard to determine when the board would develop the minimum standards for all law enforcement officers in the state, he said.

While police departments across Hawaii are accredited by a national credentialing authority, individual police officers are not certified by the state.

The board finalized two subgroups’ initial findings on the board’s bylaws and job descriptions Wednesday but could not vote on them until a subsequent meeting, Dhakhwa said.

The job descriptions now go to the Department of Human Resources for further consideration.

The administrator, the board’s executive officer, is tasked with running operations and hiring other staff. Preferred qualifications for the role include 25 years of experience in law enforcement, 10 of which were in a management role, an advanced degree, and graduation from the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy.

The office assistant should have two years of clerical experience and six months of work experience.

The Legislature created the Law Enforcement Standards Board in 2018 to certify officers and decertify those who fail to meet its standards, which were supposed to be set in 2019. But the board struggled to find funding, and the standards never came.

In 2021, the board requested to delay creating standards until July 1, 2024. In May 2022, lawmakers agreed to fund the board after denying its requests four times previously.

The current budget provides salaries of $120,000 for the administrator and $44,000 for the assistant, according to meeting minutes from last August.

“The positions are funded for half a year, to allow for time to establish, recruit, and fill as early as December 2022,” the minutes said.

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