Maui Police Chief Yabuta Honored in Retirement Flag Ceremony
By Wendy Osher
***For a complete photo album from today’s ceremony, visit our Maui Now Facebook page.
An Unveiling and Retiring of Flag Ceremony was held in honor of Maui Police Chief Gary Yabuta this afternoon.
Chief Yabuta is retiring from his post as the top administrator for the Maui Police Department and will be taking on employment at the federal level as director for the Hawaii High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program in Honolulu.
In his new capacity with the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, Yabuta will provide assistance to federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States.
During the Unveiling Ceremony, administrators with fellow county police departments across the state joined in honoring Chief Yabuta for his years of service.
A photograph of Chief Yabuta was also unveiled and will be placed alongside fellow former chiefs of Maui County in the Chief’s Lobby located on the second floor of the Wailuku Police Station.
Following the ceremony, a flag outside of the station was lowered and gifted to Yabuta as a farewell salute to his years of service with the department.
Upon announcing his retirement in May, Chief Yabuta told his command staff that “their success as leaders, coupled with their creativity to fight our community’s crime threats,” have made his decision to retire an easier one.
Yabuta was selected as chief of police in May of 2009, filling the post left by the retirement of former chief Tom Phillips.
Since joining the Maui Police Department in 1983, Chief Yabuta’s career with the Maui Police Department has encompassed a broad range of duties including a previous role as deputy chief of police immediately prior to his selection for the department’s top job. He served for five years at the helm of the department.
Yabuta received his bachelor of arts degree in sociology from the California State University California, Northridge.
At the time of his appointment, the Maui Police Department had 367 officers and 143 civilian employees.
Yabuta defended the department recently during a Kīhei Community Association meeting in which community members engaged in heated dialogue with department officials over two high profile missing persons cases. In the meeting, he defended his officers and the efforts that were being made to solve the cases.
The department’s Assistant Chief Clayton Tom is a 31-year police veteran and a 2007 graduate of the FBI National Academy. He will serve as interim chief as the Maui Police Commission continues their efforts to select a new chief of police.