The search for Honolulu’s next police chief has hit a snag.

Max Sword, chair of the Honolulu Police Commission, said Wednesday that the consultant chosen to conduct the search dropped out at the last minute.

“From what I understand, they wanted to be just a headhunting organization. In other words, we do it a little different where we hire a consultant, we do the test and so forth. We take all the applicants, and we sort through them,” he said, “whereas they wanted to be just a corporate headhunting organization, where they just go out and find the chief for you, and that’s not what we do.”

The consultant is expected to handle evaluations, psychological assessment, and background checks. It must also develop a written exam to narrow down the pool of applicants, using input from law enforcement and the community.

At this point, Sword says the commissioners have not yet reviewed any of the applications, nor do they know who the applicants are.

Sword says 34 people have applied for the position and “after we let them know that we haven’t forgotten about them, we are moving forward and, due to issues beyond our control, we still like them. We will see what the reply is.”

Sword says the commission is now working with its second consultant choice, as required by procurement law, and “hopefully by next week we will have an agreement and contract.”

As a result, the commission says it expects to hire a new chief in September.

The commission initially anticipated having a new chief in place by July or August, then late August, early September.

The position includes an annual salary of $182,088 with $8,320 standard of conduct pay.