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Communication gaffe raises fuss in chief selection


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POSTED: Saturday, November 07, 2009

Honolulu Police Commission Chairwoman Christine Camp said “;a gaffe in communication”; spawned controversy in the selection of the next Honolulu police chief.

The commission asked the selection committee on Wednesday to add two more names to a list of four finalists submitted.

When some top police brass learned that two assistant chiefs who were told they did not make the final four were back in the running, Camp said, “;They thought the fix is in.”;

Camp maintains the addition of Assistant Chiefs Debora Tandal and Delbert Tatsuyama to the list was simply to “;broaden the pool”; of candidates and to give commissioners the opportunity to interview them.

She told reporters during a break at a Police Commission meeting yesterday that she did not know who the next top two candidates were on the list when she made the request. But Camp seemed reluctant when asked whether she knew who the four finalists were when she requested two more.

“;It wasn't official knowledge,”; she said. “;We didn't know the four names, but I could guess a few. ... We didn't know all four names.”;

;  The commission-appointed selection committee scored and ranked 11 applicants who took the written exam in October, then underwent a rigorous assessment process this week. It presented its list of the top four finalists to the commission on Wednesday. The four are HPD Capt. Louis Kealoha of the Juvenile Services Division and HPD Acting Chief Paul Putzulu, along with Commander Gary Yamashiroya of the Chicago Police Department and Commander Harry Markley of the Phoenix Police Department.

Camp said she received “;a lot of calls from the selection committee members that they were upset that there was a perception there was a fix in.”;

Camp blamed the commission's executive director for calling, without her OK, those who did not make what he thought was the final four on the committee list. She summed it up as a gaffe in communication.

Camp acknowledged when it came to light that the two were added, rumors ran rampant within the department, causing some to speculate the selection process may have been manipulated to include the mayor's choice for police chief. The mayor, who ap- pointed the police commissioners, was traveling to Manila and unavailable for comment yesterday.

“;All of this is speculation and has no basis,”; Camp said. “;Those who suffer are the last two candidates.”;

She said, “;This would have been big news”; had the commission selected someone at the bottom of the list of finalists, but she simply asked for the next two top scorers.

The commission is seeking public input on the candidates. Oral testimony may be made at 2:15 p.m. Friday at HPD Headquarters, Juvenile Services Division Conference Room. Written testimony must be submitted to Honolulu Police Commission, 1060 Richards St., Suite 170, Honolulu 96813, by Friday.