HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii News Now has learned some of the citizens on the secret panel being used to narrow down the list of Honolulu Police Chief candidates this week.
The panel includes former HPD chief Lee Donahue and former United States Attorney Flo Nakakuni. Also assessing the nine finalists at a Waikiki hotel, is former Honolulu Managing Director Bob Fishman and one time Assistant Chief for HPD, Mark Nakagawa.
The panel has been conducting interviews and evaluations of the nine semi-finalists for the job that Louis Kealoha was forced to leave earlier this year after he was notified by the FBI that he is a target of a federal public corruption case.
Critics of the process wanted the names released to ensure the panel was made up of a diverse group of people. But Honolulu Police Commission Chairman Max Sword secrecy was needed to ensure outside influences and politics were not part of the first two phases.
Former police commissioner Luella Costales quit Tuesday citing a lack of diversity with the consultant, EB Jacobs, hired to help with the process. EB Jacobs used four white males, mostly from Pennsylvania to evaluate a written exam that helped slash the candidate list from 24 to 9 semi-finalists. EB Jacobs was also used for the second phase, picking the current panel of citizens to help cut the list even more, possibly to three or four finalists.
The nine semi finalists include current Major Susan Ballard, Kauai's Police Chief Darryl Perry, former federal agent Tommy Aiu, former HPD Major Kurt Kendro, retired HPD Assistant Chief Kevin Lima, retired Chicago Police officer Gary Yamashiroya, one time interim HPD Chief Paul Putzulu, and two current ranking officers on the mainland, Jim Lowery of the Arlington, Texas Police Department and another high ranking police officer from Pennsylvania.
The panel will rank them by the end of Wednesday and submit the list to the Honolulu Police Commission Thursday morning. The rankings will be 'blind' meaning the commission will not know the identities of the candidates, rather, they have been assigned numbers.
In an open meeting the police commission will decide how many finalists they want. Once that is announced, the names of the finalists will be revealed to the commission and the public.