As criticism mounts, police commission eyes ways to speed up chief selection process

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Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 5:35 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu Police Commission says they are working to try and speed up the process of finding a new police chief.

It’s already been almost eight months since Susan Ballard retired and it could easily be a full year before HPD’s next leader is chosen.

The panel has been criticized over the slow pace of the search.

It took six months just to hire a consulting company, PSI Services, for more than $145,000. It’s expected another six months would be needed to complete the process.

Amid pushback, commissioners met with the consultant this week to see if there are ways to speed things up.

“We’re trying to cut that down,” said Shannon Alivado, Honolulu Police Commission Chair.

“Whether it can be five months, whether it can be four-and-a-half months. We’re trying to see where if any of that time can be shortened,” Alivado added.

She said the body asked if the community survey could be compressed or removed or if the exams could be done virtually.

The consulting company shunned both ideas but agreed to look at other possible shortcuts.

Frustration is setting in as the search drags on.

“Let’s get this show on the road,” said Robert Cavaco, president of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers.

The police union said the delays are taking a toll on the officers and they questioned the need for a consultant since the commission duties include hiring a chief.

“They’re there to make the tough decision, if you don’t want to make those tough decisions then you shouldn’t be on the commission,” Cavaco said.

PSI Services did meet with SHOPO to get feedback on exercises or questions that should be included in the process. The consulting company will be used for phase one of the process, to whittle down the number of applicants to a smaller group of finalists for the commission to consider.

Alivado said that helps keep politics or favoritism out of that vetting phase.

“The commission has no idea right now who the 19 applicants are,” she said.

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