HONOLULU (KHON2) — The four finalist for Hawaii Island Police Chief made their first public appearance on Monday, Dec. 11. The Hawaii County Police Commission held a special meeting in Hilo giving the public their first chance to meet the candidates.
Acting Asst. Police Chief for the Kauai Police Department, Paul Applegate, Hawaii Police Department Maj. Sherry Bird, retired FBI Agent Edward Ignacio and Honolulu Police Maj. Benjamin Moszkowicz are the finalists. During the Hawaii Police Commission’s special meeting, the final four candidates were interviewed about their experience and what makes them the best person for the job.
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“I have a way of bringing people together to accomplish the mission as evidenced with my disaster management,” said Paul Applegate, finalist for Hawaii Police Chief.
“I don’t want to do the same things the same way we’ve always done them because that’s the way we’ve always done it, and we have to think outside of the box and be innovative,” said Sherry Bird, finalist for Hawaii Police Chief.
“When you’re choosing someone for this position you need someone who’s honest, transparent, proactive communication to build successful, collaborative partnerships; and if that’s what you’re looking for, then I’m the person for the job,” said Benjamin Moszkowicz, finalist for Hawaii Police Chief.
“I was raised in this village. This is my home, and I’m retired, and I decided to come out of retirement to help the community,” said Edward Ignacio, finalist for Hawaii Police Chief. “I will be a leader in this community.”
The police commission received 44 applicants when the search began. That pool was narrowed down to 21 candidates based on questionnaires. Meanwhile, a change to the selection process was announced during Monday’s special meeting. Chair John Bertsch is taking himself out of the process due to his close friendship with finalist Ignacio.
“It would be unfair to all the applicants including Ed that this relationship may be perceived to impact the final outcome of the selection process,” said John Bertsch, Hawaii County Police Commission Chair.
Meanwhile, the Honolulu Police Commission is making moves to speed up its process for the next time hiring a police chief is needed. During the Honolulu Police Commission’s recent chief selection process, it took six months alone to hire a consultant.
“What we found was how can we potentially prequalify these qualified consultants; so if the need arises again for the Honolulu Police Commission to choose a chief, they can already have a list of qualified consultants to work with,” said Shannon Alivado, Honolulu Police Commission Chair.
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For Hawaii Island, the police commission could make a final decision by the end of this week. Residents will get another chance to hear from the finalist in Kona on Tuesday, Dec. 13.