Correction: A previous version of this web story had incorrect information about one of the finalist’s title. The web story has been corrected.
HONOLULU (KHON2) — The four finalists in the search for the next Honolulu police chief had their first chance to prove to the public why they’re the best fit for the job Thursday evening.
PBS Hawaii featured the four candidates in the show “Insights” from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Retired Maj. Gen. Joe Logan, HPD Major Mike Lambert, HPD Major Ben Moszkowicz and retired New Jersey State Police Lt. Col. Scott Ebner answered questions, mostly sent in by the community.
“How often in the past does anybody hear from candidates for this position? Here’s an opportunity that’s unprecedented, and we’re happy to be a part of that,” said Chuck Parker, Vice-President of Content at PBS Hawaii.
Moszkowicz cited his educational accomplishments.
“I have the opportunity and the timing is right and I have the leadership skills and a lot of great ideas to move the department forward in the coming years,” said Moszkowicz.
Ebner and Logan said their experiences make them the right person to lead the department.
“It’s a large agency, it’s a big city as you know New Jersey is one of the most populated states in the country with 9 million people in that small state and I think my experiences will help me become a really good chief here,” said Ebner.
“I walk into the job with already five years of senior management level running the state’s Department of Defense and I have knowledge based on that,” said Logan. “I think I’m more than prepared to take over the organization.”
Lambert said he would be the bridge between the old and new.
“I would be a great representative to the younger generation and show you don’t have to be 50 or 60-years-old to hold high ranks and I think that’s very inspiring to those in Honolulu,” said Lambert.
Viewers also got an unprecedented opportunity to be part of the conversation. On top of mind for viewers was what would the finalists do about crime and the staffing shortage.
“When we talk vacancies, the problem is actually much worse than the public has been led onto, because of this giant mess of special assignments. So within first 30 days of my administration, we’re going to reassess those and put people back on the streets,” said Moszkowicz.
“We need to reprioritize where the manpower is going to go. Let’s look at patrol and the manpower focus on there,” Logan said.
“I need to restore legitimacy to the agency. I need to make it where people are proud to work here and not just waiting for their 25 years and out and when I do that people will apply for this job,” Lambert said.
“I would immediately assess patrol and bolster do campaign blitz to recruit, rehire and retain officers both here on island and off and lateral officers,” Ebner said.
Before the forum aired, Former Commission chair Loretta Sheehan applauded the Commission’s efforts in being transparent in the selection process and called it a great opportunity for the public.
“To watch the candidates respond to questions coming out of the blue, it’s going to be great for the public to be able to participate. It’s going to be great to be able to watch how candidates can pivot. How deep is their knowledge?” said Sheehan.
The group Common Cause Hawaii said it supports more transparency in the process. In a statement, the director said, “the public must be able to see into the selection process in order to ensure and hold accountable that any person selected by the Police Commission will understand the job at hand.”
On Monday, the Honolulu Police Commission will get to interview the finalist during a commission meeting.