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Rickard to serve as acting police chief

Search to begin soon to replace retiring Chief Tivoli Faaumu

Rickard

Deputy Police Chief Dean Rickard will serve as acting police chief while a search gets underway for a new chief to replace Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu, who is retiring at the end of next month.

At a Maui Police Commission meeting by videoconference Wednesday, Chairman Frank De Rego said commission rules call for the deputy chief to step in while the commission looks for a new chief.

Faaumu, whose last day as chief will be April 30, said he had a lengthy conversation with Rickard.

“I was hoping he would run for chief, but he’s not going to run,” Faaumu said. “But he will stay on with the department to transition the department through the next administration.”

He said Rickard, a veteran of more than 33 years with the Maui Police Department, is looking at retiring at the end of the year.

Faaumu

Rickard, who was born and raised on Maui and began his police career in November 1987, has served as deputy chief since Faaumu was appointed police chief in September 2014.

De Rego said the hiring of a new police chief was “coincidentally” placed on the commission agenda before Faaumu announced his retirement. De Rego said he received official word that Faaumu was retiring Monday, which would have been too late for an item to be included on the agenda.

“In the last month or so, we heard rumors about him wanting to retire, so as chair, I wanted to be proactive,” De Rego said.

Under the Maui County Charter, the police chief must have at least five years of law enforcement experience, including at least three years in an administrative capacity.

State law requires the police chief to be a U.S. citizen. The law was changed to remove a requirement that the chief be a resident of the state for at least one year, said Deputy Corporation Counsel Jennifer Oana.

She said that while the charter sets “a floor” for minimum requirements, the commission could “set a bar” with additional requirements, as it did in 2014 when the requirement was raised to 15 years of law enforcement experience and five years in an administrative capacity.

In its 2014 search, the commission also required that applicants have a bachelor’s degree or be a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Before agreeing to discuss the requirements and hiring process further at its next meeting, commissioners offered differing opinions about whether to require that candidates have a four-year college degree.

Commission Vice Chairwoman Roberta “Bobbie” Patnode and commissioners Janet Kuwahara and Emmett Rodrigues said they didn’t think a bachelor’s degree should be required.

“There may be an ideal candidate out there that we would prevent ourselves from hiring if we didn’t allow for some flexibility here,” Patnode said.

De Rego said a bachelor’s degree is becoming a minimum qualification for chiefs of police departments throughout the United States.

“It’s not to leave anybody out, but it is to make sure individuals are hopefully able to deal with complex problems,” De Rego said. “A bachelor’s degree is no guarantee of anything, but at the same time it does set a floor for educational requirements going forward which is in line with the other police departments throughout the country.”

Kuwahara said she understood what De Rego was saying.

“But our mayor and our council members don’t even have to have a four-year college degree,” she said.

De Rego said there was a significant difference between someone being voted into office and someone being hired to be the administrative head of the Police Department.

Faaumu, who has an undergraduate degree in business management and a master’s degree in homeland security, said, “I am a strong believer in higher education.”

He said 75 percent of police officers now joining the Maui Police Department are college graduates and many officers have master’s degrees.

As chief, his educational background helped him in dealings not only with the county and state but also federal officials, Faaumu said.

“You might be able to manage within your organization, within your lane, but you’re on another playing field sometimes,” he said.

Commissioner Mark Redeker said a college degree or combination of associate’s degree and FBI National Academy training would be important for a candidate.

Commissioners Matthew Mano, Sharen Sylva and Randol Leach also supported a higher education requirement for the job that pays $158,000 a year.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.

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