SHOPO chief wants faster progress on search for new Honolulu police chief


The newly elected president of the Hawaii Police Union believes the search for Honolulu’s next police chief should have ended months ago.

Instead, the Honolulu Police Commission only recently selected a consulting firm to help narrow the field of candidates to replace former Police Chief Susan Ballard, who retired in June. .

If the commission had “any concern for the police service,” then it would have selected a new chief within a month or two of Ballard’s departure, said Robert Cavaco, who was sworn in as the new one. chief of the Hawaii State Police Officers Organization. January 1st.

“For the past seven months our service has been on a boat in the middle of the ocean with no sail,” Cavaco said in a telephone interview. He insisted the criticism was “not a shot” at the leadership of acting police chief Rade Vanic, but said union members “would like to know in which direction we are headed. lets go”.

Cavaco, a lieutenant in the traffic division of the Honolulu Police Department and former vice president of SHOPO, also denounced the police commission’s decision to hire a consulting firm to help with the search. That selection process dragged on for six months before the city awarded a $ 145,777.50 contract to PSI Services last month.

Robert Cavaco, the new chairman of the state police union, said the search for Honolulu’s next police chief had left the department in limbo. SHOP

“The police board is made up of well-trained lawyers and business CEOs, so you have very bright people who know how to run businesses and organizations,” Cavaco said. “I don’t know why they need to hire a consulting firm to make the selection of the police chief of the department. It is absolutely ridiculous.

Cavaco added that the union had no preferences over whether the next police chief should come from within the department or from the mainland. “We just want the best candidate,” he said.

The latest update given by the police commission listed 19 candidates for the top job – 12 from Hawaii and seven from the mainland.

However, the city is set to hear a substantial update from the police commission at its next meeting on Wednesday, when the consultancy is expected to present a timeline for the research, commission chairman Shannon Alivado said. .

Alivado said she didn’t expect the process of hiring a consultant to take so long.

The last time the city decided to hire a new police chief after Louis Kealoha left in 2017, it took the commission about seven months to choose Susan Ballard and a consultant was also hired to help with the research. .

“We noticed that compared to Chef Ballard’s research, it took them six months to hire the consultant, but I thought we would have had an easier time,” Alivado said.

Responding to Cavaco’s comments, Alivado said she sympathizes with the union and is optimistic that research will accelerate now that the Honolulu Department of Budget and Tax Services has finalized a deal with PSI Services, which operates in more than 160 countries and presents itself as “the world’s leading career development company”,

“We appreciate their concern because I think the delay has caused everyone the angst and worry of why it hasn’t happened faster,” she said.

“The police commission has done everything it can within its parameters to speed things up,” she added. “But there are a lot of factors out of our control, and one of them is bringing in the consultant.”

Commissioners have previously expressed frustration with the length of the process at the start of December.

Going forward, the counseling agency will work with the police commission to prepare interview questions for applicants and define a scope of work for the position, both of which will be generated after outreach from SHOPO, others law enforcement groups, non-profit organizations and other interested parties.

The questions will then be compiled in a written exam administered to all candidates with the intention of narrowing the field to a maximum of 12 candidates, according to the board’s plan.

The remaining applicants will then participate in a two-day assessment consisting of written and oral exercises to further narrow the pool of applicants.

The commission proposed that all remaining candidates then attend a town hall-type public meeting before final interviews are conducted by the commissioners and the new leader is selected.

Meanwhile, Alivado said the police board was happy with the way Vanic chaired the department.

“I think our confidence and the leadership that Acting Leader Vanic has been able to provide has been optimal,” said Alivado. “The commission was very pleased with its performance and its communication not only with the public, but also with internal members of the department.”


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