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Search for new HPD chief narrows to 7 finalists

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Honolulu Police Department headquarters on Beretania Street. The Honolulu Police Commission selected 7 finalists to fulfill the vacant position of HPD chief.

The Honolulu Police Commission voted unanimously today to proceed with the search for chief with seven finalists, eliminating two from a list of nine candidates.

The finalists are: retired Drug Enforcement Agency Agent Thomas Aiu, current HPD Maj. Susan Ballard, retired HPD Maj. Kurt Kendro, retired HPD Assistant Chief Kevin Lima, retired Pennsylvania State Police Maj. Mark Lomax, Arlington (Texas) Police Department Deputy Chief Jim Lowery and retired HPD Deputy Chief Paul Putzulu.

Eliminated were current Kauai Police Chief Darryl Perry and former Chicago Police Department Commander Gary Yamashiroya.

Putzulu and Yamashiroya were among six finalists when retired Chief Louis Kealoha was selected by the commission in 2009, while Ballard was among four finalists when Boisse Correa was picked in 2004.

The commissioners will now interview the candidates individually behind closed doors.

Commission Chairman Max Sword said the public can provide testimony in person at the commission’s Oct. 4 meeting and can also submit written testimony.

Sword said he hopes a final selection can be made by the end of October. The public can email testimony to policecommission@honolulu.gov.

The commission has seven seats but only five commissioners will decide who will be chief. Luella Costales resigned abruptly Monday after voicing objections to the hiring process, specifically that the four people chosen by Jacobs to score the tests taken by 24 candidates did not reflect Honolulu’s demographic diversity. Marc Tilker resigned for personal reasons earlier this year and Mayor Kirk Caldwell has not appointed a replacement.

The chief’s job pays $191,184 annually.

Kealoha retired at the end of February amid controversy. In December, he was issued a target letter from federal officials informing him that he is a target in a federal investigation.

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