man smiling
Max Otani

A graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work and UH Hilo was appointed to serve as the director of the state Department of Public Safety (PSD), effective December 1.

Gov. David Ige announced that Max Otani will replace Nolan Espinda, who retired in September.

“With Max taking the helm at Public Safety, I am confident that we can continue moving forward with initiatives set in motion by PSD’s previous director, Nolan Espinda and acting director Fred Hyun,” said Ige.

Otani is currently a board member for the Hawaiʻi Paroling Authority (HPA). He has worked in a variety of positions in the state’s corrections and judicial systems for more than three decades. Otani began his criminal justice career with the Judiciary, as a Family Court officer and Circuit Court probation officer from 1985 to 1987. From there, he served more than two decades with HPA in various positions. Otani was the Oʻahu Intake Services Center manager 2003–2005, before he was promoted and served as Intake Service Center Division administrator 2011–2013. He then moved on to PSD’s deputy director for corrections 2013–2014, before returning to administrator of the Intake Service Center Division, where he remained until his retirement in 2016.

“I would like to thank Gov. Ige for the opportunity to return to work with the Department of Public Safety. I look forward to working with staff, other agencies and community partners to address the needs of the department,” said Otani.

Otani’s appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.