Maui Police Commission Wants In-Person Interviews, Exams with Five Chief Finalists
The Maui Police Commission on Wednesday agreed to ask the mayor for approval of in-person interviews with the five individuals it has identified as finalists for the job of Maui Police Chief.
The finalists, listed below, were selected among an applicant pool of 17 individuals who had sought consideration.
- Everett Ferreira (Captain, Uniform Services Bureau, District I – Wailuku Patrol)
- Lawrence Hudson (Retired, Former Assistant Chief, Bureau Commander of Support Services Bureau)
- John Jakubscak (Assistant Chief, Bureau Commander of Uniform Services Bureau)
- John Pelletier (Major Violator / Narcotics Bureau, Commander, Captain, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
- Victor Ramos (Assistant Chief, Bureau Commander of Investigative Services Bureau)
“I anticipated that we could do both the written exam and interviews in-person; however with Delta variant taking over our state and county and with the very high number of new cases every day, for safety of the commissioners and staff as well as the applicants, we should discuss safe alternatives,” said Commission Chair Frank De Rego at the start of the meeting.
There is currently county guidelines in place that do not allow for in-person county commission meetings, and under an executive order issued by the governor this month, gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people indoors.
Chair De Rego said he had reached out to the Managing Director’s office prior to the meeting to request a waiver of the county rule to hold in-person interviews, but had not been approved. The written exam is not considered a commission meeting, but would still be subject to the state mandate relating to gathering size unless a waiver is sought and approved by the county.
The commission on Wednesday voted to seek a waiver from the mayor in the form of a letter, outlining the commission’s concern that they would like to pursue their desire to conduct the interviews and the written exam in-person.
“I’m really, really uncomfortable doing a Blue Jeans meeting for such an important position on oral interview,” said Commissioner Mark Redeker during the Aug. 11 meeting. “I think that if we need to lobby the mayor, if we need to do whatever we need to do–the public really deserves for us to do our due diligence and do the very best job that we can by asking questions, looking at the responses, looking at how the responses come back–everything from the personal communication to the inter-personal communication, also the presentation of the candidates.”
He continued, expressing concern that there could be a technical glitch or other factor if interviews were conducted virtually. “In the TIG (Temporary Investigative Group) we discussed this at great length, at nauseam, and I know we’ll discuss it further down; but I think the public would really want us to meet these people face to face, sit them down, talk to them, and go through and see so that we can properly grade them, instead of just grading them from the neck, up,” said Commissioner Redeker.
Another concern raised was the challenges in properly proctoring a written exam virtually.
“We didn’t expect the conditions of our COVID-19 status to change as much as they have,” said Commission Chair Frank De Rego, saying he is in agreement with the sentiment shared.
Chair De Rego said he is gratified by the public’s interest in the process of hiring of the new Chief of Police as evidenced by attendance at the Commission’s meetings and the correspondence the Commission has received. At least 38 people were logged on to Wednesday’s meeting.
“I believe [the] Commission is working diligently to hire a candidate that exemplifes the values of Maui Nui which include aloha (unconditional love for our community), kuleana (a sense of responsibility for those in their charge and the community as a whole), haʻahaʻa (humilty), hoʻokākou (inclusiveness), kūpono (fairness and honesty) and lōkahi (an ability to unify and not divide),” said De Rego.
The Chief of Police is the administrative head of the Police Department and will receive an annual salary of $158,851.
According to the application, the Chief is “responsible for the preservation of the public peace, prevention of crime, detection and arrest of offenders against the law, protection of rights of persons and property, enforcement and prevention of violations of all the laws of the State and ordinances of the county and all rules made in accordance therein, and for traffic safety and traffic safety education.”
The only residency requirement was that the applicant be a United States citizen. The commission had sought applicants with 15 years as a law enforcement officer, five years of which were in an administrative capacity. The deadline to receive applications was July 12, 2021.
The commission plans to approve oral and written questions during the next commission meeting which is set for Aug. 25 at 1 p.m.
According to Chair De Rego, the general game plan is for the commission to have interviews and deliberation next month, with the selection of the final candidate by the end of September.