Monday, April 27, 2015

Sisters in Crime/Hawaii Does HPD SIS and Museum Tour


Honolulu Police Department
Main Police Station, Beretania Street

“. . . fascinated by the real-life origins of Charlie Chan.”

“. . . spent some time talking to Officer Fatu,”

“. . .whirlwind tour due to emergency call-out of the crime scene techs.”
Officer Croom

Officer Fatu



Jenny Delos Santos presented our guides with traditional kukui nut lei at the beginning of our tour. 

The Scientific Investigation Section of the Honolulu Police Department is located at the Main Police Station on Beretania Street in Honolulu. On April 21, 2015, Sisters in Crime/Hawaii had an opportunity to tour the HPD lab and museum. Due to an emergency call-out, the lab was being shut down early, so our museum tour was halted while Officer Fatu escorted all 24 of us down to the lab first. Rather than cancel the tour, the HPD tour officers merely juggled their schedule and graciously allowing us access to the lab.
Glowing summaries from Sisters/Misters in Crime/Hawaii members of their experience on the tour:
Kent Reinker, author of Science Fiction and Medical Thriller novels
 I particularly liked the historical background that Eddie Croom gave us (in the museum). The fact that the police department has existed under the monarchy, independent republic and American state of Hawaii is very interesting, particularly since the historical roots continue to be represented symbolically on the present-day badge, which includes depictions of both the kapu sticks of authority and the law of the broken paddle. I was also fascinated by the real-life origins of Charlie Chan. 

Officer Croom welcoming SinC/Hawaii
to the HPD museum tour


A.J. Llewellyn, author of Mysteries set in Hawai’i
HPD Officer Fatu
I spent some time talking to Officer Fatu, and asked how the HPD cops felt about the TV series Hawaii Five-O. "We laugh at it. We think it's funny. It's off the mark in so many ways, including the kinds of crimes really taking place in Hawaii and the weapons that are used by both criminals and HPD." That said, he wanted to audition for the role of Kono Kalakaua in the reboot. "The original Kono was a big, Hawaiian guy like me, but they said, 'No, we're going with a Korean-Canadian actress for this!'" He did get to appear in the series however. "Look at this handsome guy!" he cracked, showing me footage of him firing a gun in a street scene. "Such good fun!" 

Joanna Bressler, Author

The Deceptograph

At almost the last minute, Vicki White pointed something out to me in the museum: The Deceptograph, Lie Detector Desk Model, HPD, 1948. Every inch of this ordinary-looking desk was wired to hunt down the lies of the suspects hooked up to it.

I couldn't tear myself away from the Deceptograph because I'm a Deceptograph too. I police my stories relentlessly to find and eliminate the lies in them. Alas, as with all polygraph machines, I am notoriously unreliable.


Gail Baugniet, author of Soft-boiled Pepper Bibeau mysteries

SinC/Hawaii members
A.J. Llewellyn, Laurie Hanan, Gail Baugniet

Everything about the tour was exciting for me, including the luncheon at Auntie Pasto’s afterwards. The photographs I took tell much of the story. Our visit to the science lab (SIS) was a whirlwind tour due to an emergency call-out of the crime scene techs, but the sights and information imparted by our guide were invaluable to us as mystery writers and Hawaii residents alike.  

What is a Mass Spectrometer?

Mass Spectrometry (SM) is an analytical chemistry technique that helps identify the amount and type of chemicals present in a sample by measuring the mass-to-charge ratio and abundance of gas-phase ions. A Mass Spectrometer measures ionizes chemical compounds to generate charged molecules or molecule fragments and measures their mass-to-charge ratio.
Mass Spectrometer

Evidence collected by Honolulu Police Officers or Detectives is first turned over to Evidence Lockers, to protect chain of custody and to label and record. Any evidence that must be tested is then sent to the Lab, most often drugs such as marijuana or methamphetamines.
Once the evidence is tested, if it leads to a suspect already recorded in NCIC, National Crime Information Center, then a sample of the evidence is sent to the agency that entered the information. That agency then verifies if the sample is a match. If it does match, then the Honolulu Police Department can move forward with their investigation.

In the Firearms Laboratory, analyses are conducted on weapons and ammunition. They have the
capability to conduct any type of examination associated with weapons offenses as well as toolmark examination.  The Rear room of the laboratory is a one-lane indoor firing range, where test fire examinations are held. They also compare fired bullets and shell casings, and restore defaced serial numbers on weapons and other items.

The Gunshot Residue Lab is where they test for what we all know from CSI shows as “GSR”. GSR can be found on the skin or clothing of the person who fired the weapon, on an entrance wound of a victim, or on other target materials at the scene. Clothing or other items submitted to the lab can be tested to determine presence of GSR.

The type of weapon can influence the distribution of GSR, barrel length and caliber affecting how it is emitted. Delay in obtaining residues, movement and/or washing of the body prior to autopsy will diminish or destroy gunshot residues.

A special MAHALO to Jenny Delos Santos, our newest Sisters in Crime/Hawaii member, for scheduling the tour and for working closely with Officer Fatu to ensure we received a tour of Scientific Investigation Section of the Honolulu Police Department.
Jenny with the Motorcycle Display in the Museum

Sisters and Misters in Crime/Hawaii
HPD arranged special seating for us
in the Police Museum for a special presentation
by HPD Officers Croom and Fatu 

Officer Croom telling the story behind the HPD Police badge


For more information about the Honolulu Police Department and about their tours, visit:




  1. This looks like a fantastic tour--wish I could have been there! Next time, I hope!

  2. Thanks, Frankie. We did have a good time. Sounds good . . . next time!