The police commission largely praised Chief Joe Logan’s job performance but said he can do better with communications.

Honolulu Police Chief Joe Logan is off to a good start, with improvements in department morale, staff retention and lower crime rates in his first year on the job, according to his performance evaluation by the police commission.

As for how Logan could do better, the commission brought up issues of sharing information multiple times. It encouraged him to keep showing up for both the community and journalists, and to seek “additional media training.”

The evaluation covered the period from June 14, 2022, when Logan took office, to June 13.

Commissioners checked “meets expectations” 29 times and “exceeds expectations” eight times in the evaluation. Not once did Logan fall below the commission’s expectations.

“I think it’s been a good first year. There’s definitely room to grow,” commission Chair Doug Chin told Logan at Wednesday’s commission meeting. “To me, that’s just a wonderful opportunity.”

Honolulu Police Commission Commissioner Doug Chin gestures during meeting.
Police Commission Chair Doug Chin said Chief Joe Logan had a good first year on the job, but “there’s definitely room to grow.” (Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022)

According to the commission’s evaluation, department morale is up, staff retention is better and crime is down. The evaluation ranges from June 14, 2022, when Logan took office, to June 13.

Logan, a former state adjutant general and criminal investigator with the Hawaii Attorney General’s Office, assumed the helm last year of a troubled department that had faced scandals over the conviction of former police chief Louis Kealoha on corruption charges, high-profile shootings and multimillion-dollar lawsuits.

The commission wrote that its members enjoy a “good relationship” with the chief, saying he has been very transparent and cooperative. The evaluation lauded Logan’s leadership and personal integrity, citing his speeches, visits to districts, praise for staff and “Workin’ Joe Logan” videos, which show him learning from the rank and file about how they do their jobs.

It also commended his push for transparency on police operations by making public the department’s active dispatch calls, arrest logs and highlights. Logan has also shown a “good understanding” of the budget and discussed it transparently, the evaluation said.

However, the commission called on Logan to continue to make improvements in the communications sphere, both with the community and journalists.

It recommended he hire more spokespeople to facilitate “timely communication to major public safety incidents” and make HPD’s spokespeople more accessible to the media. The commission further urged Logan and his deputies to get better at disseminating information to employees.

Without being specific, the commission also encouraged Logan to “continue communicating with a wide cross section of the community.” While reading parts of the evaluation aloud at Wednesday’s meeting, Chin stressed the word “wide.”

Civil Beat received a full copy of the evaluation on Thursday.

Honolulu Police Chief Joe Logan took office in June 2022 after a lengthy search. (David Croxford/Civil Beat/2023)

Since HPD remains about 400 officers short, the commissioners recommended that Logan “re-double efforts” to recruit new police officers.

“Still working on the recruitment, and that’s going to be an ongoing project for whatever business you’re in,” commissioner Jerry Gibson told Logan on Wednesday.

All commissioners — except Carrie Okinaga, who was absent — praised Logan at the Wednesday meeting for a job well done, offering only minor areas for improvement.

Commissioners Ann Botticelli and Shannon Alivado singled out HPD’s new “Data Dashboard” for high praise.

“I’m really pleased with that dashboard,” Botticelli said. “I know it’s not for this evaluation, but I think it’s really terrific.”

Logan gave credit to his leadership team and the department’s rank and file.

“It’s doing its darndest every day to be out there and to keep Honolulu safe,” he said. “In some aspects I look at my job as effortless, because I do enjoy coming to work every day.”

Read the evaluation here:

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