Commission to negotiate with second pick for police chief search consultant

The selection of Honolulu’s next police chief is once again in jeopardy of being delayed.

The Honolulu Police Commission has been trying to hire a company to help create tests that the police chief applicants will take.

The first consultant it chose backed out and now, the commission is crossing its fingers that the second choice agrees to the job.

“In the middle of negotiations, when it came down to final crossing the Ts, they said, ‘Ah, we changed our mind.’ So they backed out. We had to go to the second one, who we’re going to negotiate with tomorrow,” said commission chair Max Sword.

But there aren’t many other options if the company doesn’t agree to the job, which could delay the process even more.

The police commission says only three consultant companies, all from the mainland, applied to help the Honolulu Police Department find its next chief.

KHON2 asked Sword what would happen if the second company doesn’t come through.

“Don’t say that, bachi! We don’t know,” Sword replied. “We’ll just have to go to the third one. Hopefully not, because there’s only three that submitted their intentions.”

The consultant’s role is to help create tests for the 34 police chief candidates, score them, and recommend the top candidates for the police commission, who will ultimately choose from the top-ranked choices.

The city will pay the company around $50,000 for the job.

The commission says it hopes the second consultant company takes the offer, because it wants a new chief sooner than later.

“We’ve got 34 applicants. Presumably there are some good applicants. I’m not terribly worried about the adequacy of the pool, I just want to get this show on the road,” said commissioner Steven Levinson.

The commission says the same consultant that backed out was used when hiring the department’s previous chief, Louis Kealoha.

For now, there is no definitive date on when the commission will choose its new chief.

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