John Pelletier, a Las Vegas police captain, was selected by the Maui Police Commission in a unanimous vote Tuesday to move forward as the final candidate to lead the Maui Police Department.

Pelletier will still need to clear background investigations, drug tests, a psychological assessment and a credit report before being offered the job.

If he passes all those, Pelletier will lead a department of about 416 employees, including 312 sworn officers.

Las Vegas police captain John Pelletier will advance as the final candidate to lead the Maui Police Department.
Las Vegas police captain John Pelletier will advance as the final candidate to lead the Maui Police Department. From a screen shot taken Oct. 1. Screenshot

The commission will take a final vote on Pelletier’s appointment on Nov. 3.

Pelletier, a captain in charge of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s narcotics bureau, would be the second Hawaii police chief from Nevada.

Kauai Police Chief Todd Raybuck is also a former Las Vegas officer.

“I think we’ve reached a crossroads in our history as a four-island county,” commission chairman Frank De Rego said in his support of Pelletier’s nomination after hearing testimony from many residents who called for a police chief from outside the department. On Friday, the commission interviewed all five candidates for the position. The interviews were broadcast live on television and on the internet.

Also for the first time, Maui police chief candidates were required to take written exams as part of the application process.

Commissioner Janet Kuwahara, who nominated Pelletier to be the next police chief, said that she has heard from the public on Maui and from current officers who have called for change.

Commissioner Stacy Moniz said she was initially skeptical of Pelletier’s “mainland style.” The police captain told commissioners on Friday that his biggest flaw is that he can be long-winded.

But commissioners who supported Pelletier’s nomination noted his innovative ideas and for coming to the interview prepared.

“His answers were on point,” Moniz said. “He’d done his homework. He did his research.”

The commission began looking for a new police chief in March after former chief Tivoli Faaumu announced his retirement amid scrutiny over a hit-and-run incident last November and a critical job review from the police commission earlier this year.

Faaumu led the department starting in 2014 and officially retired May 1.

Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by a grant from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation.

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