First Tongan police chief in Hawaii retires after 36 years

WAILUKU, Maui (AP) — The first Tongan police chief in the state of Hawaii and first Tongan police officer with the Maui Police Department has retired from the department after 36 years, officials said.

Maui Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu, who is also part Samoan, grew up in Tonga and joined the department in August 1985, The Maui News reported Saturday. He served as police chief for seven years.

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“He’s fulfilled everything we asked him to do, plus much more,” said Roger Dixon, who was chairman of the Maui Police Commission that unanimously selected Faaumu as chief in 2014.

Faaumu, who left Tonga at the age of 17, received his associate’s degree in administration of justice from then-Maui Community College, a bachelor’s degree in business management from Bellevue University and a master’s degree in homeland security from American Military University.

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“When I first came in, I was the only one with an accent,” he said. “Now you have different accents, which is good because the diversity of the department does match the community as a whole. It really helps us provide that service.”

While a police officer, Faaumu assisted the FBI in shutting down a major drug distribution ring in 2001 that was responsible for up to 70% of the methamphetamines being sold on Maui at the time.

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