Maui Police Chief Finalists Interviewed, Decision Expected Tuesday
The Maui Police Commission conducted interviews with finalists for the position of Maui Police Chief on Friday, with the virtual format made accessible to the public for viewing via a stream on the BlueJeans platform.
The five finalists were selected among an applicant pool of 17 individuals who had sought consideration. The list of those still being considered for the job of Top Cop include:
- Everett Ferreira (Captain, Uniform Services Bureau, District I – Wailuku Patrol)
- Lawrence Hudson (Retired, Former Assistant Chief, Bureau Commander of Support Services Bureau)
- John Jakubscak (Assistant Chief, Bureau Commander of Uniform Services Bureau)
- John Pelletier (Major Violator / Narcotics Bureau, Commander, Captain, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
- Victor Ramos (Assistant Chief, Bureau Commander of Investigative Services Bureau)
During the interview process, John Pelletier, who is the only finalist from outside of the Maui Police Department, reflected upon events that occurred four years ago in Las Vegas. “Today is the fourth anniversary of 1 October. Four years ago today, I was at my house when the phone rang and my wife got word that there was an active shooter in the area that I was responsible for,” he said.
“I grabbed radio and turned it on, and could hear the gunfire and the chaos and I had officers shot, and I knew it was really bad. I got everything together and was out the door within minutes notifying the chain of command… and I knew I had to take incident command and get my hands wrapped around to stabilize this. It was imperative because we had incredible loss of life,” said Pelletier.
“We took the biggest crime scene, second only to 9-11, and we did everything to mitigate that. We brought a community together… And it’s not lost on me the question–it’s not lost on me the date. And I tell you that because there is no challenge professionally that I could not handle. I didn’t do that alone… I’m very humbled, please know that. I don’t sit here and say that this was a me effort, but I know I helped save lives. I know I helped the community,” he said.
Victor Ramos said just making the rank of assistance chief was one of his proud moments. He was also in charge of the Uniform Services Bureau, calling it his greatest honor and achievement. “We worked with hundreds of police officers, [with a] manpower shortage, but we were able to forge a unified bureau to the point where morale, despite the manpower issues, morale was high… because everybody had the same mindset. Everybody came to work to do the best job that they could,” said Ramos.
“It became a point of contention that if you were assigned to a burglary case, that you did your due diligence… to investigate… and it was a point of pride to pass it over to CID (Criminal Investigation Division) and say ‘It’s all yours. We did all the work.’ And that became a cultural thing. And part of that success was discipline–that’s always part of it, because I’ve learned through that experience that through discipline, there is freedom. Everybody understands where they stand. And why does it increase morale? Because everyone is treated fairly,” said Ramos.
“To see the commander, the lieutenants, the sergeants, the officers, grasp the same vision of outstanding police service, and you hear feedback from the community from retired officers saying, ‘wow, things are different,’ I would say that was my greatest achievement,” said Ramos.
Everett Ferreira said his single greatest success during his time as an officer was doing community activities outside of the department as a football coach and official.
“The greatest enjoyment was seeing one of your players who came from a broken home and suffered, but encouraging and coaching just to see him come out a better citizen and going to college and getting a degree, and coming back home and giving back to his community. I think that’s my greatest accomplishment. Work–yes, I’ve moved up the ranks… people have learned off of my command… even though I’m a Captain, I still respond to cases–especially beat cases. And I try not to overtake command, but sometimes you have to,” said Ferreira.
“The latest incident that we had was at Maui Lani Golf Course. We had shots in the area. I hear officers responding, but there’s no coordination going on by the watch commander or the supervisors. So I come on the air, I respond. And while I’m responding, I’m already coordinating to have a perimeter, make sure everything is settled. I get out of my car and I meet the officers and then we do a grid search… We did catch the youths. It was weapons, but [they] were modified to shoot blanks,” said Ferreira.
“Officers, commanders have learned how I work… when responding to heavy cases, and work wise, that’s the greatest accomplishment,” said Ferreira.
Lawrence Hudson worked on the $37 million Kīhei Police Station, the creation of the County Forensic Facility and morgue, organized the transition from revolvers to semiautomatic pistols, and wrote the first body-armor specifications for the department, among other projects.
“Whenever I see an officer, I can see my contributions,” said Hudson, “with the body armor, with the firearms… when they use the Kīhei Station and I drive by, I am very proud.” He said all of those contributions, as well as his 10 years in training, are successful moments for him with the department.
John Jakubscak who has 34 years with the department, pointed toward his work as an assistant chief in Support Services and his service on the state of Hawaiʻi E-911 board.
“This board, which I’m still a part of, helps the department safety answering points to procure funds to modernize technology and get the best state-of-the-art communications,” said Jakubscak. “This allowed us to reach out and help and assist many people–not just in the county, but in the state of Hawaiʻi.”
“One of the things that I helped to procure, along with Davelyn Racadio, is Text-to-911… for all of the state of Hawaiʻi, and particularly for Maui, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi, so that people could text if they are unable to call,” said Jakubscak. “That’s more of an event or an accomplishment. That doesn’t necessarily speak law enforcement, but it speaks to the community, it speaks to assistance, it speaks to what we can provide to the community to help them in their everyday usage. There are so many 911 calls everyday that our dispatchers need the ability to communicate and send the right resources to these people.”
Jakubscak also spoke of his work outside of the department as a high school football coach. “I hope and pray that I had some type of inspiration or ability to motivate them to serve their community as a police officer–including my son and nephew who dedicate their life to service in this community… They’re not just my former players, they’re my kids as well–all of them, and I follow their careers and what they’re doing and they make me so proud to me of where I am today,” he said.
The interviews included questions on how candidates would balance transparency and secrecy in the department’s relationship with the public; how they would establish an organizational culture of professionalism within the department; and even a hypothetical of what they would do if there was an unwritten policy extending a special courtesy to off duty police officers, elected officials and family members of MPD employees.
There was also a question on how the candidates would seek to remedy a perceived notion that there are two groups within the department–those who are “in” and those who are “out.” “The out group feels that the in group receives prime consideration for training, special assignments, promotions, and that they have management’s ear. The out group feels that if they are critical of management or supervision, they are unfairly disciplined, and that their input into departmental operations is not wanted. What has been your experience of in and out groups within your department, and what have you done to remedy the situation,” Maui Police Commission Chair Frank De Rego asked.
Other questions sought input on how candidates would you build and maintain positive relationships with SHOPO and HGEA; how they would build bridges in addressing sensitive, cultural, racial, or ethnic issues; their thoughts on community policing; and an explanation of their individual strengths and weaknesses.
With a $63 million budget, 79.5% of which is encumbered by fixed collective bargaining personnel costs and 12.8% expended on overtime actions, the commission asked what candidates would to to control overtime expenditures.
The Commission will reconvene on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, to make a final decision.