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The City Journals

Aloha Lautaha

Mar 27, 2017 10:53AM ● By Cassie Goff

Lautaha is the newest officer of the Cottonwood Heights Police Department. He was introduced with his family to the council by Chief Russo. (Dan Metcalf/Cottonwood Heights)

By: Cassie Goff    [email protected]
The Cottonwood Heights Police Department (CHPD) gains a little dose of Aloha this month. On Feb. 28, Sioape Lautaha was introduced to the Cottonwood Heights City Council as the newest CHPD officer by Police Chief Robby Russo.
“Thank you, this is always a privilege,” Russo addressed the council and additional audience members as he invited Lautaha and his family to take the podium in the front of the room.
“Lautaha spent the last 10 years with the Honolulu Police Department. He was introduced to us and we liked what we saw. He fits in really well with this police department,” Russo said. “We are the most diverse police department in the Salt Lake Valley.”
When asked about himself, Lautaha was quick to express love for his family.
“I have been happily married to my beautiful wife for 10 years. My son is 6 years old. My family and I are thankful for the opportunity that you have presented,” Lautaha said. “My wife and son are happy. As long as they are happy, I’m just the guy that goes to work.”
Lautaha said it was an honor to work alongside the officers of the CHPD. He worked in the Honolulu Police Department from 2007 to 2015 and said he never met nor shook the police chief’s hand during that entire time.  
“I worked in Honolulu County with 2,000 officers. It was divided into eight districts. The last place I worked was by North Shore,” Lautaha said. “Russo, I see every day; and he shakes my hand every day. He feels a little Aloha.”
Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore asked Lautaha and his family why they moved to the mainland.
“This is the first time moving out from Hawaii. It took a lot but it feels like home,” Lautaha said.
He told the city council the story about how his in-laws visited Utah to attend a funeral, and never left. They quickly moved their family to Utah. Six months after that move, Lautaha’s father-in-law passed away. Now, his widowed mother-in-law lives in West Valley with three teenage boys.
Cullimore then asked if he had noticed much difference between the departments.
“Where there’s people, there’s bound to be crime,” Lautaha said. “It’s nothing different.”
As Lautaha and his family turned to leave, Cullimore noticed a lei in Mrs. Lautaha’s hand. He asked if there was a tradition with this sort of ceremony. She nodded and the city leaders encouraged her to complete the ceremony. She draped a white and green lei over her husband’s shoulders with a smile.