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Maui Police Commission suggests salary bump for Chief from $158,000 to $205,000

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Maui Police Chief John Pelletier. PC: Maui Police Commission meeting screen grab (2.2.22)

The Maui Police Commission voted unanimously to recommend a $47,000 bump in pay for the Maui Police Chief. The recommendation requests an increase in pay from the current $158,851 to $205,000 (+29%) as a new base salary.

The item will be brought before the Maui Salary Commission for consideration, which is scheduled to meet again on Feb. 11, 2022. 

“I am in line with the recommendations of the [Maui Police] Commission at this point, seeing the salary comparisons in communities of smaller size, and not as high a cost of living as we have here,” said Maui Police Commission Chair Frank De Rego, Jr. “We have one of the highest costs of living in the country actually, rivaling those of California.”

Maui Police Chief John Pelletier said he was notified of the salary considerations before he was sworn into office, and prepared the presentation with that task in mind. The commission request is $10,000 higher than the $195,000 figure that Pelletier had suggested when he made the presentation.

“You can see that the Assistant Chiefs make more than I make, and make more than the Deputy makes,” said Chief Pelletier, calling the discrepancy “a little problematic.” One of the Assistant Chiefs earns $8,561 more than the chief according to a FY22 base salary estimate he reviewed with the Commission.

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He noted that the salary for the Deputy Chief is determined as a percentage of what the Chief makes.

Current SalariesFY22 Base Salary

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Chief Pelletier also noted the percentage of salaries and wages for the department increased less than a percent year over year from 2020 to 2021.

Maui Police Department – FY 2022 Council Adopted Budget

Cost of Living

Chief Pelletier explained that Hawaiʻi has the highest cost of living in the US at an index of 196.3, which means that the cost of living is 96.3% higher than the US average, according to information shared by the department. Maui County cost of living is 161.9, according to a presentation shared by the chief.

The cost of living index, it notes, is based on a US average of 100 (housing 30%, groceries 15%, transportation 10%, utilities 6%, healthcare 7%, miscellaneous expenses such as clothing, services, entertainment – 32%). Taxes are not included.

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“We all know that the median cost for a house now is one million [dollars]-plus. These are all things that–they really do matter, and it’s worth having that discussion,” said Chief Pelletier.

Salary Comparisons to HPD and others within the MPD

  • Maui County Police Chief: $158,851
    • Maui County Deputy Police Chief: $150,908
  • Honolulu County Police Chief: $205,800
    • Honolulu County Deputy Police Chief: $196,296

According to Chief Pelletier, additional benefits are provided to police officers, but not to the Chief or Deputy Chief including: Overtime compensation for working in excess of eight hours in a work day (40 hours a week), overtime for call backs, consultative calls, and stand-by pay.

“Everybody that’s in the SHOPO contract is compensated 25% of your daily rate to be on stand-by,” for immediate service during off-duty hours, said Chief Pelletier. “So standing by to deal with situations (for emergencies), everybody else is compensated for that.”

“I do know I took the job at $158K, but since you’re asking, this is why I’m giving this [presentation],” he noted.

Based upon the Chief’s salary, with working an average of 60 hours a week, the hourly rate of the Chief is equivalent to the hourly rate of Police Lieutenant, according to information provided at the meeting. “However, the Police Lieutenant is able to additionally claim contractual overtime compensation, which increases their salary to surpass that of the Chief of Police and the Deputy Chief of Police,” he noted.

“I think Maui County deserves to be second to no-one, and we shouldn’t be looking to anyone else as far as a barometer. We should be setting just like we did with the selection–we should be first and foremost, leading the state,” said Pelletier.

Salary Comparisons – California (2019)

A comparison was also provided to compare salaries earned by chiefs with like-sized agencies, populations, closest in proximity (on the mainland). The data is provided below:

The Maui Police Department has 400 sworn officers.

  • Richmond (population 116,448) (cost of living 148.6) Sworn officers: 177
    • Police Chief: $235,680
    • Assistant Police Chief: $225,420
  • Santa Clara (population 127,647) (cost of living 241.5) Sworn officers: 143
    • Police Chief: $223,203
    • Assistant Police Chief: $292,976
  • Inglewood (poplation 107,762) (cost of living 155.1) Sworn officers: 186
    • Police Chief: $216,281
    • Deputy Police Chief: $185,425
  • Hayward (population 162,954) (cost of living 165.4) Sworn officers: 300
    • Chief of Police: $232,356 (*2018)
    • Police Captain: $208,115 (*2018)

“You can see that the compensation package for a law enforcement executive leader, overwhelmingly, this is what the price is for that particular function–and you can see that it’s pretty consistent,” said Chief Pelletier.

Chief of Police responsibilities:

The duties and responsibilities of the Maui Police Chief were outlined during a presentation to the Maui Police Commission on Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 2, 2022.

The chief is responsible for “the preservation of the public peace, prevention of crime, detection and arrest of offenders against the law, protection of rights of persons and property, and enforcement and prevention of violations of all laws of the State and ordinances of the county and all rules made in accordance therewith,” according to the Chief’s presentation.

Other responsibilities include: traffic safety and traffic safety education; train, equip, maintain and supervise the force of police officers and employees of the department; and have other powers and duties as may be assigned by the mayor or as may be provided by law.

Other mandated boards and responsibilities include:

  • Director of Public Safety: when MEMA activates the Chief of Police is the Director of Public Safety with oversight of DLNR, DOFAW, DOCARE, Coast Guard, MFD, and AMR.
  • Governor’s Committee on Crime
  • Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification System
  • Law Enforcement Coalition Legislative Committee
  • Police Officer Standard Training – Vice Chairman of the Board
  • Hawaiʻi Opioid Initiative (Chairman of the first Responder sub-committee)
  • Private Detective and Guard Board
  • High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program
  • Joint Terrorism Task Forces – Executive Board
  • Coroner of the County
  • Issue firearm permits for residents of Maui County
Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.
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