Maui police chief defends himself after SHOPO survey slams his leadership style

SHOPO says they hope the survey will serve as a tool for the chief so he can make the department better.
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 6:18 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 15, 2022 at 6:52 PM HST
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WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Maui police chief is defending himself after unfavorable results from a survey was released to media on Tuesday.

The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO) survey shows dozens of officers are unhappy with the changes Pelletier is making.

The poll criticizes MPD Chief John Pelletier and his leadership style.

There are 300 officers in the department. SHOPO represents 276 of them – all officers, sergeants, and lieutenants.

SHOPO said 158 officers completed the survey — 62% gave Pelletier a negative rating for “fostering strong morale.”

“I can tell you without a doubt, the morale is the lowest it’s ever been in my 22 years in the department,” said SHOPO Maui Chapter Chair Sgt. Nick Krau. “And it has decreased significantly since the beginning of this year.”

Wednesday marked six months since Pelletier took the position as top cop at MPD.

The survey was sent out to union members in April, four months after the chief was sworn in.

“Some would say, I would agree, that a survey done at four months is premature,” Pelletier said surrounded by his command staff.

Pelletier said successful results from change take time.

“Organizational change, it takes five to seven years. I didn’t invent that or pull that out. That’s from Harvard Business Review,” said Pelletier.

Wednesday also marked the chief’s six-month review by the Maui Police Commission.

In his presentation, he talked about the department’s successes so far and shared how he has established recruitment strategies.

“He had a whole list of things that he’s doing with the cold crime … the missing people, the tactical vehicles, just a bunch of stuff that he has planned,” said Molokai resident Alexa Dudoit. “I have faith in him and I stand by him.”

SHOPO said they hope the survey will serve as a tool for the chief so he can make the department better.

“The reason why we did this survey is to lend a hand to the chief to try and resolve this, to come up with solutions on how we can move the department forward to bridge the gap,” said SHOPO President Robert Cavaco.

“That’s clearly our objective here. It’s not to bash the chief, it’s to try and help him,” added Cavaco.

SHOPO said it intends to conduct the same survey throughout other police departments.

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