East Hawaii News

Sonobe Hong Named New State Sheirff

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Renee Sonobe Hong was recently named the Department of Public Safety’s State Sheriff Division Administrator, a role that will take effect on Oct. 16.

Sonobe Hong will be in charge of leading the department’s Sheriff Division.

“Renee will bring valuable experience in her new role as Sheriff,” said PSD Director Nolan Espinda. “She adds a wealth of criminal justice experience to our department.  Her experience in criminal prosecution will be an invaluable asset in widening and professionalizing the scope of law enforcement actions routinely performed by our deputy sheriffs statewide. She will provide effective leadership, accountability, and she will ensure that the division operates efficiently.”

In her most recent roles, Sonobe Hong was a Deputy Attorney General for the Public Safety Department, Hawaiian Home Lands, and the Housing Division of the Attorney General’s Office. Prior to her role as a Deputy Attorney General, she served as First Deputy Corporation Counsel for the City and County of Honolulu Department of the Corporation Counsel.


From 1991 to 2001, Sonobe Hong served with the Prosecutor’s office in different roles, including Misdemeanor/Traffic Division Chief and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the Sexual Assault Team.

Sonobe Hong will help move the Sheriff Division towards Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies certification.

“One of the top priorities of our Sheriff Division is to become CALEA certified. CALEA is a top accreditation authority and is the primary method for an agency to voluntarily demonstrate its commitment to excellence in law enforcement,” said Shawn Tsuha, Deputy Director for Law Enforcement. “We are fortunate to have someone like Renee, who has the legal expertise and leadership capability to help the Sheriff Division achieve this goal.”


The main purpose of CALEA is to maintain a body of standards, developed by public safety practitioners, covering a wide range of up-to-date public safety initiatives, establishing and administering an accreditation process and recognizing professional excellence.

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