Honolulu police chief candidates whittled down to top 9 after written test

On Thursday, we got a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes when choosing a new chief for the Honolulu Police Department.

Police commissioners had a conference call with the consultants spearheading the process, who are based in Pennsylvania.

Applicants went through a written test first. Out of the 33 who applied, only 24 showed up to take it in Honolulu.

Candidates were scored based on their answers to topics important to Honolulu, addressing current problems in the community, how they’d respond, and how they’d work on the relationship between the department and the public.

Four former police chiefs — one from Hawaii and three from Pennsylvania — scored each test based on a variety of factors, like competency and teamwork.

The consultants gave commissioners three choices moving forward: cut the list down to eight, nine, or 10.

Commissioners agreed to go with the consultant’s preferred choice of top nine, because they said the assessors firmly believed the new HPD chief would be within this group.

The commissioners looked at the scores, but each test was anonymous.

On Friday, the commission will alert the top nine candidates so they can make proper arrangements to be here on the last week of September for phase two, which is the assessment center.

“The next assessment is primarily local law enforcement types asking the questions, doing in-depth assessment. They’re going to do, I think it’s called a psychological matrix, a group thing. When that’s done, they’ll rank everyone. Then we’ll make one more cut,” explained Max Sword, the commission’s chairman. “When we do make that cut, the final, three, four, five, whatever that is, the names will be revealed.”

Sword says he isn’t sure yet how many candidates they’ll cut after the assessment center, but those top candidates will ultimately go to the commission, who will choose the chief. Those candidates will be revealed to the public.

The commission will give the public a chance to weigh in on who will be Honolulu’s next police chief sometime in the beginning of next month.

A new chief should be chosen by the end of the October.

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