Former cop makes plea deal in domestic abuse case

  • DANIEL R. ULRICH

A former Hawaii Police Department officer pleaded no contest Tuesday to third-degree assault for an April 8 domestic abuse incident that resulted in his wife being treated at Hilo Medical Center for bruising to her throat area.

Hilo Circuit Judge Henry Nakamoto agreed to a deferred acceptance of Daniel R. Ulrich’s plea. In a deal with prosecutors, the assault charge was reduced to a misdemeanor from second-degree assault, a Class C felony. Dropped were two counts of domestic abuse. One was a misdemeanor charge, the other a felony charge with strangulation as an aggravating factor.

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Ulrich was sentenced to a year of court supervision, plus a six-month jail term with all but two days suspended. He also must complete a domestic violence intervention course.

“At the end of the year, the charge will be dismissed, if he behaves himself,” said Deputy Prosecutor Rick Damerville on Thursday, meaning Ulrich’s criminal record will be expunged should he satisfactorily complete the terms of his supervision.

Damerville said the reason for the plea deal was because Ulrich’s wife, Hendricka, “wouldn’t cooperate.”

Police said in April that Ulrich, then 29, was arrested after “an early morning off-duty domestic argument.”

Ulrich’s police booking mugshot showed what appeared to be scratches and contusions to his face and neck.

According to the original complaint, Ulrich “intentionally or knowingly imped(ed) the normal breathing or circulation of blood of Hendrika Ulrich by applying pressure on (her) throat or neck.” He also was accused of “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly caus(ing) substantial injury” to his wife, then 36.

The department said Ulrich was hired Feb. 16, 2018, and was assigned to Puna Patrol Division on Jan. 1, 2019. He was still within the initial 18-month new hire probationary period when the incident occurred, and was placed on unpaid leave pending the completion of an administrative investigation.

Assistant Chief Sam Thomas said Friday that Ulrich is no longer a member of the department. Asked about the circumstances of Ulrich’s departure, Thomas replied, “He did not complete his probationary period.”

That period would’ve been completed Aug. 15, while Ulrich was still facing criminal charges.

Thomas said if Ulrich complies with terms and conditions of his deferred plea, and his criminal record is expunged, “it would not necessarily make him ineligible” to be employed again by the department.

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Thomas said Chief Paul Ferreira, as the “department head for the county agency, is the final hiring authority.”

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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