HPD chief applicants total 36, including 14 from within department


POSTED: Thursday, August 06, 2009

A former CrimeStoppers coordinator, the Kauai police chief and a school principal are among the applicants in the running for Honolulu police chief.

The Honolulu Police Commission received 36 applications for the position—21 from Hawaii, including 14 from within the Honolulu Police Department, and 15 from out of state.

Eight applicants were deemed unqualified for failing to meet minimum requirements, but have 10 days to appeal, commission Chairwoman Christine Camp said.

Sunset Beach Christian School Principal Robert Prasser, 59, who retired in 2005 as assistant chief of the administrative bureau after 31 years with the police department, said he hadn't been looking for another job.

But “;when the police commission said it wasn't going to extend Chief (Boisse) Correa's contract, something inside me—I just felt I needed to apply as candidate for chief of police,”; he said.

A good chief will address issues with the union and rank and file, he said.

One of the most widely known candidates is Capt. Letha DeCaires, 50, who headed the Honolulu CrimeStoppers program from 1998 to 2005. She now serves as legislative liaison and as an alternate HPD spokesperson.

“;I think that communication between the officers and the staff and the community is one of my strengths, and one of the things that I would like to bring to the forefront,”; said DeCaires, a 26-year veteran who spent 15 years as a detective.

Another high-profile candidate is Maj. Kurt Kendro, 45, a 23-year-veteran who was transferred to HPD's Records Division earlier this year. As the Kalihi district commander for three years beginning in 2006, Kendro publicized major cases, including large drug busts, undercover drug sting operations near schools, copper thefts and illegal copper sales sting operations.

Kendro declined an interview.

Maj. Susan Ballard, 52, HPD training commander, formerly Kalihi district commander and Finance Division head, was one of four finalists in the last search for a chief.

Ballard sees four “;bridges”; that are necessary to maintain as chief.

“;We need to reconnect with SHOPO (the police union); with the officers themselves, administration-wise; maintain connections with the community; and reconnect with the media.”;

At least three other HPD majors have also applied, but asked not to be named.

Assistant Chief Debora Tandal, 49, who has overseen HPD's Support Services Bureau since February 2008, said she counts her 17 1/2 years of patrol time as valuable experience for a chief. The nearly 30-year HPD veteran has served as Pearl City district commander, and with the Records and Identification Division and Internal Affairs.

As chief, Tandal said, she would focus on “;the employees and the community, everybody working together. We can't do it alone.”;

Randal Macadangdang, 52, assistant chief of HPD's Executive Bureau and formerly of its Special Field Operations Bureau, said he's learned over his 26 years with the department that “;we need to take care of our sworn personnel as well as our civilian personnel and volunteers,”; besides working in partnership with the community.

“;My strength is bringing people together and making things work,”; he said.

Kauai Police Chief Darryl Perry, who retired as an HPD major, said becoming chief of police on Kauai, his home, was a “;dream job.”;

But after 28 years with HPD, “;I feel I can be an asset to HPD.”;

At 59, he feels he can do more by helping HPD move forward and assist Kauai with accreditation.