The City and County of Honolulu’s six-month search for a consultant to help select the next chief of police has finally come to a conclusion.

On Wednesday, James Yuen, the Honolulu Police Commission’s executive officer, announced that a contract was awarded to PSI Services LLC on Friday.

According to the city’s Budget and Fiscal Services purchasing website, the contract is worth $145,777.50 and four potential consulting firms were considered for the award.

Yuen said that the police commission will begin working with the consultant as soon as the contract is finalized. His announcement elicited a brief round of applause from the other commissioners who earlier this month voiced exasperation with how long the process was taking.

Honolulu Police Commission
The Honolulu Police Commission announced that the city has awarded a contract to PSI Services LLC to assist in the search for the next chief of police. Honolulu Police Commission/2021

“The initial reaction was ‘finally,’” Commission Chair Shannon Alivado told Civil Beat. “I think the commission as a whole had grown frustrated as to the delays in the awarding of the contract.”

PSI Services, which operates in 160 countries and heralds itself as the “world’s leading career development company,” will be tasked with whittling down the field of police chief candidates before they are presented to the police commission.

Alivado said the commission plans to invite consultants from PSI Services to an upcoming commission meeting so they can introduce themselves and outline their vision for the selection process.

“They are basically there to provide guidance for the commission as to the steps that it will take to identify who the finalists are,” Alivado said.

According to a multi-phase plan for the selection process, the consultant will lead the search effort during the initial stages before the commission is presented with the names of the finalists.

The consultant will help formulate questions for the written examination all candidates are given, which is expected to thin the field of applicants to between eight and 12.

Following the written examination, the remaining candidates will participate in an “assessment center” made up of individuals tasked with evaluating the applicants through a series of interviews and simulated exercises.

Alivado said the commission will collaborate with the consultant on developing both the written examination and assessment center, but the commission and the public will not be privy to the names of the candidates until finalists are chosen after the second phase.

“We won’t know who makes it out of the written exam, who makes it to the assessment center, but we will be able to help the consultant develop what the questions look like,” Alivado said. “We’re not going to be part of the grading. We’re not going to be part of the assessment center or participating in those exercises.”

Once the assessment center process concludes and the remaining candidates are identified, a town hall-style meeting will be held with the candidates, according the commission’s plan.

The fourth and final step would be a final round of interviews.

Alivado said that the commission plans to discuss a timeframe for the search with the consultant, but gave no estimate for how long it may take.

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