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To offer transparency, Maui Police Commission streams interviews with 5 MPD chief finalists

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 6:40 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 2, 2021 at 10:38 AM HST
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WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Maui Police Commission interviewed the five men vying to be the county’s next police chief on Friday.

For the first time in Hawaii, the interviewing process was streamed live for the public to watch in real time. Commissioners said it was necessary to be fully transparent and fair.

The selection process comes at a time when the Maui Police Department’s leadership is clouded with controversy, allegations of abuse of power and corruption.

The finalists were asked 15 questions each and were given five minutes to respond to each one.

One of the questions was about fair treatment.

“There’s no rule or any kind of special favors for anyone. Everyone comes under the law. Including and especially officers of the Maui Police Department and their families,” said MPD Assistant Chief John Jakubczak, who has been with the department for 34 years.

Assistant Chief Victor Ramos, who has 33 years in the department, emphasized “officer discretion” when it comes to certain cases.

“The question we ask recruits coming in, if you would arrest your mother for DUI or issue her a citation for speeding. That’s a really difficult question. The answer that I expect and the answer I’m going to give the police commissioners is two-part, the officer does have discretion when it comes to minor incidents,” Ramos said.

Captain Everett Ferreira has been with MPD for 42 years. He is the commander of Wailuku Patrol.

“The passion is still there, and I feel that I can just create an environment that will be safe for everyone. That’s my main objective because if you really think about it, who wants to be a police chief in times like this,” said Ferreira.

Former Assistant Chief Lawrence Hudson had a 33-year career with MPD before retiring in 2013. He promised more transparency if selected.

“The community demands transparency, and it is owed transparency and it’s the job of the department to make sure that happens,” Hudson said.

John Pelletier is the only candidate from outside the department. The captain in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department pointed out that Friday was the four-year anniversary of the Las Vegas massacre and highlighted his leadership role that day.

“I could hear the gun fire and the chaos, and I knew I had an officer shot and I knew it was really bad. I got everything together and was out the door within minutes notifying the chain of command in getting a response. I knew I had to take incident command and get my hands wrapped around and stabilize this,” said Pelletier.

The commission said the full interviews will be posted online for the public to watch within the next few days.

A new police chief will be chosen on Tuesday.

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