In an effort to reduce the hiring time when searching for a new police chief, the Honolulu Police Commission is reviewing the city’s procurement process to see if potential bidders for recruitment services could be approved in advance.

Current Honolulu Police Chief Joe Logan was sworn in on June 12 after the previous chief Susan Ballard abruptly quit her position in April 2021, leaving the department without a permanent leader for more than a year.

During the commission meeting Wednesday, Chair Shannon Alivado said members are in discussions with the city Department of Budget and Fiscal Services to see if recruitment consultants could be approved to bid on an annual basis, similar to the city’s process when hiring outside engineers or attorneys.

Honolulu Police Commission photographs at HPD.
The Honolulu Police Commission is looking to speed up the process when a new chief needs to be hired. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

Alivado said it took about six months just to hire the consultant in the recent chief search, and having bidders prequalified would greatly speed up the process. There would be no cost for a company to signal its interest in bidding, she said.

Commissioner Doug Chin said the commission took a lot of criticism for taking so long to hire Logan.

“We took it to heart,” Chin said.

Budget Recommendations

The commission also reviewed a report from its Permitted Interaction Group formed to make recommendations on Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s fiscal year 2024 budget for the Honolulu Police Department. The department was budgeted $312 million for fiscal year 2023 (July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024), up from $300 million in fiscal year 2022.

Alivado said in previous budgets the commission looked at more of the big picture items including overtime claimed by police employees, allocation of police resources, recruiting and retaining officers as well as improving data collection and public reporting.

She said all of those issues are important but this year’s report is focusing more on the immediate needs of the department.

That includes cutting down on HPD’s gas bill by spending $563,500 to replace its outdated fuel management system to track vehicle milage and fuel use; $10,000 to update the department’s Live Scan Identification system to meet the increased need to fingerprint people applying for concealed carry gun permits and provide Live Scan equipment for the Waianae police station and $90,000 to purchase 60 new mountain bicycles and related equipment for use during law enforcement activities including general patrol and coverage of specific events such as parades and protests.

Alivado asked the commissioners to review and edit the report for discussion and approval at its next meeting.

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