DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY HOLDS BADGE PINNING AND PROMOTION CEREMONY FOR SHERIFF DIVISION FIRST DEPUTY
News Release from PSD, Mar 16, 2021
HONOLULU – The Department of Public Safety (PSD) today held a pinning ceremony to announce Lieutenant Lanikoa “Koa” Dobrowolsky’s promotion to First Deputy of the Sheriff Division.
The First Deputy is second in command of the Sheriff Division, answers directly to the State Sheriff and is responsible for assisting the Sheriff in planning, directing, and coordinating the activities of the Sheriff Division as well as the activities of the Deputy Sheriffs engaged in providing law enforcement services for the State of Hawaii.
“Over the past 27 years, Koa has risen up through the ranks of the Sheriff Division. He is a dedicated and experienced law enforcement and military leader, but most importantly, his heart is in the Division,” said PSD Deputy Director Jordan Lowe. “I am confident he will provide effective leadership and accountability and will ensure that the division operates efficiently.”
Lt. Dobrowolsky most recently served, from 2011 to present, as the Commander of the Sheriffs Special Operations Unit supervising the Fugitive Apprehension Unit, Canine Unit and the Sheriff Rapid Enforcement and Counter Threat Team (REACT). His responsibilities included developing complex tactical and operational plans involving coordination with multiple federal, state and county agencies, and supervising the response to critical/high risk operations and special events for the state.
He began his career in the Sheriff Division in 1994 as a deputy sheriff, tasked with various law enforcement assignments including criminal investigations, fugitive apprehension, and patrol operations. In 1998, he was promoted to sergeant and worked patrol, ran the District Court cellblock and the booking and receiving desk. And from 2000 to 2011 he was as the lead instructor Sergeant for PSD’s Law Enforcement Training Academy where he was responsible for the review of past training protocols and updating deputy sheriff recruit training
Lt. Dobrowolsky also has a lengthy 28-year military career with the U.S. Army. He currently serves as a First Sergeant in the U.S. Army’s B Company, 301st Military Intelligence, responsible for the welfare, training, readiness, and the overall mission success of the expeditionary ready force, and supervises operations conducted by intelligence analysts, cyber and signal intelligence, counter-intelligence special agents, and human intelligence operators.
Lt. Dobrowolsky is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and Department of Defense, Counter-Intelligence Special Agent Academy.
The previous Sheriff Division First Deputy Reid Ogata retired at the end of December 2020.
Pictures and video from the ceremony: LINK
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HGEA wins precedent-setting case against former Public Safety administration
News Release from HGEA, March 22, 2021
HGEA recently won a precedent-setting grievance non-selection case where the arbitrator and former Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals Justice Daniel Foley ruled in favor of HGEA and former Unit 14 member Lanikoa “Koa” Dobrowolsky. “This is huge,” said Dobrowolsky, now an excluded member. “There’s no way I could’ve expected the same results if I had done this on my own.”
While still a deputy sheriff in Unit 14, Dobrowolsky applied for a promotion to an excluded position and after successfully completing the selection process, was wrongfully denied the job. Under the previous administration, the state Department of Public Safety historically addressed non-selection cases by sending employees’ internal complaints to the Merit Appeals Board rather than honoring the grievance process outlined in the collective bargaining agreement, or union contract.
“The state tried to get the case dismissed on the grounds that we had to go to the Merit Appeals Board,” said HGEA Advocacy Chief Stacy Moniz. “But we argued that Koa was covered by the promotions article in his contract and the arbitrator agreed. Because Koa was a Unit 14 member when he applied for the position, the arbitrator recognized that he was protected by his rights in the Unit 14 contract and he determined the case was arbitrable, so we moved to arbitration.”
Moniz and Union Agent Jesse Sliva presented an airtight case for Dobrowolsky where the arbitrated decision returned was in favor of the union. “The arbitrator concluded that the selection process had not complied with the with merit principle, as defined by the Hawaii Revised Statutes,” said Sliva. “Ultimately, the arbitrator provided us with an award that enabled Koa to finally be selected for his current position in the Department of Public Safety.”
“This is an enormous victory,” said Moniz. “Under previous director Nolan Espinda’s administration, the department perverted the interview and selection process to fit their own personal desires, which were to exclude Koa. This was the very first time where the Phase 2 interview process was done without any type of guidelines and it was blatantly obvious that Espinda was altering the process to select someone other than Koa for the job.”
"My union supported me from the very beginning,” said Dobrowolsky. “I knew that for a situation like this, it would take time and I had to be patient, but HGEA did everything they could every step of the way. Jesse and Stacy did a phenomenal job and I literally owe those guys everything.” Dobrowolsky recently assumed his new role as First Deputy of the Sheriff Division and looks forward to being part of the new team. “This administration is receptive, respectful and honored the arbitrated summary and ruling. Director Max Otani, Deputy Jordan Lowe, and State Sheriff Billy Oku absolutely supported the process 100 percent.”