Max Otani, a retired corrections official and member of the Hawaii Paroling Authority, will take over as head of the state Department of Public Safety starting Tuesday, Gov. David Ige’s office announced.

Otani will replace former Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda, who retired in September, and Fred Hyun, who has been filling in as interim director.

Max Otani is the new head of the state Department of Public Safety. 

“I look forward to working with staff, other agencies and community partners to address the needs of the department,” Otani said in a press release.

Otani has three decades of experience in the state judiciary and corrections systems. He held various positions in the paroling authority and the Intake Service Center before his appointment as deputy director for corrections in 2013.

In 2016, Otani retired from the DPS as administrator of the Intake Service Center Division, which is responsible for jail diversion programs and assesses offenders brought into the state corrections system.

The Senate must still approve Otani’s appointment during the next legislative session that begins in January.

Espinda faced a tough set of committee hearings during his confirmation in 2019.

Hyun will remain Ige’s special master in charge of assessing the public safety department until the end of the year. He will also return as the paroling authority chair starting Tuesday.

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