Rick Blangiardi, a former longtime television executive, has received the support of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers in his bid to be Honolulu mayor.

SHOPO President Malcom Lutu, speaking at a brief press conference at the union’s headquarters in Kalihi, said, “We feel that he’s the right person for the job. He puts public safety first on his list. We need somebody that can make the hard decision right now in the county.”

Lutu said SHOPO was not concerned about Blangiardi’s lack of governing experience, calling the former general manager of Hawaii News Now “a good leader.”

Rick Blangiardi and SHOPO President Malcolm Lutu at the police union headquarters Tuesday. Former SHOPO President Tenari Maafala is at far right. Chad Blair/Civil Beat

Blangiardi said he looked forward to working with SHOPO, which prompted Lutu to respond, “We need help.”

SHOPO represents about 3,500 officers.

Blangiardi’s wife, Karen Chang, was appointed by Mayor Kirk Caldwell to the Honolulu Police Commission in 2017.

Blangiardi said that Chang, a former executive with American Express Co. and Charles Schwab & Co., resigned from the commission when he announced his run for mayor earlier this year.

A spokeswoman at the Police Commission confirmed that Chang resigned effective Jan. 31. Caldwell has not yet announced a replacement, and the Police Commission’s website as of Tuesday still listed Chang as vice chair.

Blangiardi is one of nearly a dozen possible candidates to replace Caldwell, who is completing his second and final four-year term. The filing deadline is June 2 and the primary is Aug. 8.

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