William “Billy” Oku Jr., State Sheriff
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY NAMES NEW STATE SHERIFF
News Release from PSD, Nov 25, 2020
HONOLULU – The Department of Public Safety (PSD) today announced the appointment of William “Billy” Oku Jr. as the State Sheriff. Oku leads the department’s Sheriff Division, effective December 1, 2020.
“Billy will bring valuable experience in his new role as Sheriff,” said PSD Acting Director Edmund “Fred” Hyun. “Billy has a wealth of law enforcement and security management experience going back over 30 years. He will provide effective leadership, accountability, and will strive to obtain accreditation and certification through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement (CALEA) which requires a comprehensive and uniform written directive that clearly define authority, performance, and responsibility.”
“The Department welcomes State Sheriff Billy Oku and looks forward to the professionalism and leadership qualities he will bring to the Sheriff’s Division.”, said Deputy Director for Law Enforcement Jordan Lowe.
Oku began his career in law enforcement in 1981 as a state law enforcement officer under the Attorney General’s Office and in 1983, transferred to the State of Hawaii Sheriff’s Division as a Deputy Sheriff. In 1988, Oku joined the Honolulu Police Department, working in Patrol, Specialized Services Division (SWAT), Crime Reduction Unit, and Criminal Investigations Divisions Gang Task Force. In 2000, Oku laterally transferred from the Honolulu Police Department to the State of Washington and worked as a Deputy Sheriff for Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. In 2001 he moved on to work as a Nuclear Officer for Pacific Gas and Electric’s Nuclear Power Plant in California. Upon return to Hawaii in 2003, Oku continued his career as an Assistant Security Director for Ala Moana Center and then Operations Manager for Akal Security and Investigations. While at Akal, he served as the regional operations branch manager responsible for oversight of the armed officers assigned to the U.S. District Court, District of Hawaii, as well as those assigned to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) K-9 Unit at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, and at Hickam Air Force Base. In 2010, retired HPD Chief of Police Lee Donohue appointed Oku to serve as his Chief of Staff in the Honolulu City Council.
Up until his appointment as State Sheriff, Oku served as Senior Special Assistant in the Office of the Governor and was also tasked as the lead for the State Law Enforcement Coalition (SLEC), working with State and County entities addressing COVID-19 initiatives under Major General Kenneth S. Hara.
The current Sheriff Al Cummings is retiring on December 1, 2020, after 40 years of service to the state.
CB: Oku will replace Sheriff Al Cummings, who is retiring Tuesday, according to the department. Cummings was among high ranking sheriffs who didn’t go through basic training until 2016 despite having served in the department for decades prior.