The job remained open as Skyline officially opened to the public Friday.

As the first 10 miles of Honolulu’s rail transit line open for service, the city job to oversee private security along the system’s stations, platforms and driverless trains remains vacant.

Thomas Aiu, a prominent former law enforcement figure in Hawaii, stepped down several months ago from the Department of Transportation Services’ new safety and security office, DTS leaders confirmed this week.

Aiu was hired last year as the office’s manager of security and emergency systems. In that role, he had been slated to oversee private patrol operations by Allied Security, which has a two-year, $2.6 million contract to work along the rail line.

Thomas Aiu, a former special agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, was hired last year to help manage DTS’ new safety and security office. He has since left, leaving the position vacant. (Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat/2017)

On Wednesday, Aiu said he converted to a contract job with the city to help put their security policies in place and that contract has since ended. He declined to comment further on leaving the management position other than to say he departed on “good terms” with the city and is now retired.

Documents provided by the city show that he worked as the security and emergency systems manager from April 2022 to October 2022. He then signed a contract running from Oct. 4 to Jan. 3 at a rate of $6,948 per month to perform those same duties as DTS looked to fill the position full time.

City officials did not mention Aiu converting to a temporary contract status when they discussed Aiu taking the job shortly after that Oct. 4 start date.

Aiu is a former special agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, a former security head for Hawaiian Airlines who in a lawsuit later accused that company of widespread wrongdoing, and a finalist in both 2009 and 2017 to become Honolulu’s police chief.

“I think he likes to be a field cop, really. And our process was too much behind-the-scenes paperwork,” DTS Director Roger Morton said last week.

“He’s been a cop all of his life … and I liked what he was doing, but I think he, personally, inside himself preferred a more traditional law enforcement role,” Morton added.

The city is actively hiring to replace Aiu, Morton said. Neither he nor other DTS officials had an estimate Tuesday on when that security management job would be filled.

Some 10 personnel from Allied will patrol the first 10 miles and nine stations that opened to the public on Friday, according to DTS. The plan is to add more security personnel as more stations open, Morton said last year.

The private guards will not carry firearms, tasers or batons, according to DTS, and Honolulu police will respond to incidents that occur along the rail line, in addition to the private guards.

Four more stations and five more miles to Middle Street are expected to open in 2025.

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