‘Long, intense’ interviews begin for police chief finalists

Four Honolulu police commissioners began Monday the last leg of the selection process for the City and County’s next chief of police.

Seven candidates are vying for the position: Thomas Aiu, Susan Ballard, Kurt Kendro, Kevin Lima, Mark Lomax, James Lowery, and Paul Putzulu.

The commissioners blocked off three days to space out each finalist’s interview.

On Monday, day one, retired Honolulu police deputy chief Paul Putzulu was the first finalist to face commissioners Cha Thompson, Eddie Flores, Loretta Sheehan, and Steven Levinson.

After two hours, Putzulu walked out and described the interview to waiting reporters as “long” and “intense.”

“Did you have a good feeling about it?” KHON2 asked.

“Who’s to say? You never know. Who’s to say if you have a good feeling or not? You just do what you can do. There’s six more after me. We’ll see,” said Putzulu.

Putzulu’s interview comes just days after former chief of police Louis Kealoha and his deputy prosecutor wife, Katherine, were arrested last Friday following a federal grand jury indictment. The couple pleaded not guilty in federal court.

Putzulu refused to comment on the arrests, but he did tell us why he wants to lead the Honolulu Police Department.

“I love the department,” he said. “It does real good for the community. I think I can contribute to that.”

Aiu was the second finalist to face the police commission.

Honolulu Police Commission chairman Max Sword recused himself from the process due to his relationship with Aiu, who is his wife’s first cousin.

The remaining four commissioners will vote Wednesday afternoon, and they must be unanimous to select a new chief.

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