John Pelletier was officially named chief of the Maui Police Department Wednesday after a month-long vetting process by the Maui Police Commission.

The commissioners selected Pelletier among a group of five candidates to lead the department of more than 300 sworn officers and 100 civilian staff Oct. 5. Wednesday’s vote was largely a formality after the commission spent much of October conducting background checks on Pelletier and verifying his credentials.

“Maui Nui is looking to you for not only steadfast leadership but also compassion buttressed by strength,” commission chairman Frank De Rego told Pelletier. “This will be your kuleana, your responsibility, to our community, which is a relationship of reciprocity bounded by empathy and mutual respect.”

Maui Police Department vehicle parked in downtown Kaunakakai, Molokai.
The Maui Police Commission named John Pelletier as the new police chief for the Maui Police Department Wednesday. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

Pelletier thanked the commissioners and said that the hiring process for the police chief job, that involved a public interview of all candidates, was one of the most transparent he has seen.

Pelletier currently works as a captain in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department managing the agency’s narcotics program.

He’s expected to be sworn in as the Maui police chief on Dec. 15.

The commission is considering reimbursing Pelletier for some of his moving expenses. The commission plans to come forward with a proposal at its Nov. 17 meeting.

The commission on Wednesday also put in motion plans to add some of Pelletier’s initial budget priorities into MPD’s budget request for next fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2022.

Pelletier is requesting dedicated positions for recruiters. The MPD is lacking in both sworn and civilian employees, with 25% of its positions vacant. Pelletier is also asking for funds to establish a cold case unit as well as a K9 patrol on Maui, Molokai and Lanai.

Costs of those programs were not available Wednesday.

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

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