Maui News

Maui Police Department mourns passing of former Chief Howard Tagomori

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Former Maui Police Chief Howard Tagomori. PC: courtesy Maui Police Department

The Maui Police Department confirmed the passing of former Chief Howard Tagomori on March 3, 2023.

Chief Tagomori spent three years in the US Army after graduating from Baldwin High School in 1958. He then served 35 years in county law enforcement.

He began his career at the Honolulu Police Department in 1963 before returning to Maui in 1969 to work for the Maui Police Department.  In 1971, in addition to being promoted to Sergeant, he served as one of the founding members that initiated a union to represent police officers within the State of Hawaiʻi, resulting in the creation of the State of Hawaiʻi Organization of Police Officers or SHOPO, with Chief Tagomori serving as a Statewide Board member at large. 

Chief Tagomori was named the 1975 Maui County Police Officer of the Year, and in 1976 he was promoted to Lieutenant and served as the commander of the Vice Narcotics Division.  The following year, he was promoted to Captain and served in the Molokaʻi and Lahaina Patrol Districts.  During his tenure as a commander, he graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy’s 95th session.

In 1981, Chief Tagomori was promoted to Deputy Chief, and between 1983-1984 served as President of the FBI’s National Academy Hawaiʻi Chapter. 


In 1988, he was appointed as Chief of Police. According to a department news release, “his progressive vision, led the department to benefit from his many accomplishments, such as the creation of the Special Response Team (SRT) in 1992; the transition of department-issued firearms from revolvers to Glock semi-automatic pistols in 1995; and becoming the first police department within the State of Hawaiʻi to earn national accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) in 1996.”

Throughout his decade-long tenure, Chief Tagomori’s efforts focused on officer training, implementing life-saving defibrillators in patrol vehicles, and integrating community policing into many areas within the County of Maui, according to the release.

After 35 years of service, Chief Tagomori concluded his career with the Maui Police Department in 1998.  Within a matter of days after retiring, he was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as the US Marshal for the District of Hawaiʻi between 1998-2002.


Chief Tagomori then served as the Assistant Federal Security Director of Inspections for the Transportation Security Administration between 2002-2008, providing security and assuring implementation of federal compliance and standards. 

In 2014, Chief Tagomori received the Hawaiʻi State Law Enforcement Officials Association (HSLEOA) “Hui Kahi No Ka Pono” United for Justice Lōkahi (Unity) Perpetual Award.  

“A true professional and devoted public servant, Chief Tagomori is remembered for his humor, progressive vision, and the love he had for his family, friends, and the community he proudly served,” according to the department announcement. “The Maui Police Department shares its deepest condolences to Chief Tagomori’s wife, Lorraine, son Honolulu Police Officer Reid Tagomori, daughter Kris (Scott) Fujikawa, and grandchildren Brayden Tagomori and Emi and Mika Fujikawa.”


Services are set for Friday, April 14, 2023, at Kahului Union Church. Viewing is from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and service is from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  Burial to follow services at Maui Veterans Cemetery.


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