HONOLULU (KHON2) — From major on Oahu to chief on the Big Island — that’s what’s ahead for Ben Moszkowicz who was chosen just this afternoon to take on the Hawaii Police Department. The police commission picked him from among four finalists. Gina Mangieri caught up with the chief-select right after the announcement.

KHON2: Congratulations, when are you going to start?

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MOSZKOWICZ — Oh, that’s a great question. Thank you very much for the congratulations. I’ve talked to the police commission. I’ve talked to the mayor, and we’re probably looking at sometime in early January. There are a bunch of boxes we have to check, HR things that we have to go through, physical, drug tests, that kind of pre-employment stuff; but I’m excited to get over there and get started.

KHON2: You’re going to be making a personal move as well, your family, your kids. Have you made any decisions about where are you going to live? Where are the kids going to go to school?

MOSZKOWICZ — Absolutely not yet. It’s all very fresh and new. And, you know, three hours ago, we were in deliberation; and the police commission was voting on what it is they want, what direction they wanted to take the department. So at this point, I’m just, I’m super excited. I’ve had a chance to reach out to members of SHOPO on the Hawaii County board, the mayor and the police commission and starting to make those relationships and touch those bases. And so when I do get there, we’ve hit the ground running,

KHON2: What do you think some of your top hit-list items are going to be the minute you get started?

MOSZKOWICZ — So anybody who was paying attention the last week to the testimony offered at the county police commission, a lot of really great items got brought up. The first and foremost in my mind is the fact that I think we need to do a better job of not only conducting but also documenting in-person training, keeping officers up-to-date and up-to-speed on current trends and topics, and whether that be use of force options and use of force tactics, whether it be protecting the individual’s first amendment or second amendment rights.

KHON2: Hiring is at crisis levels everywhere, every county across the country. How are you going to get people to stay on the Big Island or come to Hawaii County to be a police officer?

MOSZKOWICZ — So I’m exhibit number one, right? I’m leaving Oahu to come to the Big Island. The Big Island is a wonderful place to work. And not to do too much stealing, but there’s a bunch of people here who might be interested in coming over as well. So, part of it is looking at expanding lateral transfer program. Hawaii County would be very well suited and taking officers from Oahu. Don’t tell Chief Joe I said that; we were kind of laughing about that in my office a little bit earlier.

MOSZKOWICZ continued — So there’s certainly laterals from within the county laterals from the mainland United States. That’s kind of a first fix. The second fix is a little bit longer term. I want to develop a kind of what you’d almost call a cadet program or take folks, when they exit high school as they start to attend college and UH Hilo or on the west side of the island, and get them employed, get them on a contract working maybe 20-30 hours a week. We can introduce them to our culture. We can see what kind of person they are and make sure that they’re a good fit for us. In the meantime, we can do a background check, we can encourage them to continue their education so that when they turn 21, We have folks ready and waiting ready to onboard as police officers.

KHON2: How do you envision yourself doing your job, even geographically? That’s a huge space to cover. How do you avoid being just the chief of Hilo or just the chief of Kona?

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MOSZKOWICZ — That is a huge concern. And that’s another big thing that we heard from the police commission, from the folks who stood up and testified this week at the police commission hearings. Right now, it almost seems from the outside looking in, and I’m very conscious of that. But, it seems like there’s two departments going on. And, it’s going to take someone who’s willing to spend time in each and find those best practices and find people in each that are willing to kind of unite the department into one big organization that serves a really big community.