A Honolulu police officer who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disclosing confidential information to former deputy city prosecutor Katherine Kealoha will stay on the job with pay because civil service rules don’t allow HPD to fire him, Chief Susan Ballard says.

Sgt. Daniel Sellers was sentenced to a year of probation Monday for his role in aiding Katherine Kealoha in an alleged corruption scheme in which she and her husband, former police chief Louis Kealoha, are accused of framing Katherine Kealoha’s uncle for stealing their home mailbox.

Sellers’ role in the alleged framing for the mailbox theft is a small part of a wide-ranging case against the Kealohas and several cops that stretches from charges of bank fraud and forgery to identity theft and felony conspiracy. Sellers was never accused of being part of the theft or coverup.

In December, Sellers went on leave without pay from his job at HPD. But Ballard said the department has since reinstated him because civil service rules limit to 60 days the amount of time an employee can go on leave without pay.

Ballard said she had to make a choice: Strip Sellers of his police authority and reassign him to administrative duty or place him on leave with pay.

She chose the former.

“My position is I’m not going to let them just stay at home and get paid,” Ballard said at a press conference Tuesday. “If they are part of the department and the taxpayers are paying their salary they should be getting some work out of the officers regardless of what their status is.”

This news can't wait.

Every day, journalists in nonprofit newsrooms like Civil Beat dig deeper into the raw news of the day to deliver in-depth and investigative reporting that engages communities, advances solutions, and demands accountability. This news can’t wait. So why would you?

Give today and NewsMatch will double the impact of your donation. We’ll even throw in a limited-edition Civil Beat t-shirt!

About the Author