With more than a quarter of authorized officer positions vacant in Maui County, the Maui Police Department is rolling out the use of QR codes and continuing to recruit on the mainland in an effort to help.
Over 100 vacancies for sworn officers
Of the 400 authorized positions for sworn officers, there are currently 297 employees and 103 vacancies, which translates to 74% staffing. That’s a 14% increase from the 90 sworn vacancies reported in November 2021.
Of the 146 authorized civilian positions, there are 103 employees and 43 vacant positions, which translates to 71% staffing.
Departmentwide, there are 146 vacancies and the Maui Police Department is 73% staffed. That’s down -2% from last month’s report.
There are currently 12 eligible applicants at various stages of the hiring process for the Police Constable I positions, including one hiring that begins April 1 and another that will begin June 1, according to Melissa Magonigle, business administrator at the Office. administrative services of the MPD. Two people who are in the psychological phase have moved into the physical phase, and there are eight people in the background stage of the hiring process.
Recruitment begins in the “pockets” of the continent
On the recruiting side, the department continues its efforts across the state, including participating in job fairs on Lānaʻi and Molokaʻi. The chief, who previously served in Las Vegas, has also expanded his recruiting efforts there, saying the department reached more than 2,000 people at an event at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and plans to lead similar efforts in the Pacific Northwest, including Oregon in July.
“We’re going to do everything we can to recruit locally, of course, but we have to realize that we’re going to have to go outside,” said Chief Pelletier, saying that the vast majority (about 80%) of recruitment is will do in Maui County, “but we will go specifically to where we know there are deep pockets of people in the state.”
“I think sometimes people – when they say ‘Why did we go there? who may not have realized that they have a career opportunity waiting for them here.
Commissioner Stacey Moniz said she’s glad recruiting has expanded to Las Vegas. “I think going to Las Vegas is a great idea. I think there might be a lot of people from Maui living there now who might want to come home if they could get a good job. paid,” she said.
QR codes make it easy to access
Earlier this month, the department rolled out its QR codes, which when scanned on a phone camera or mobile device take applicants directly to the government jobs website where a job description, benefits and salary information are presented, along with a link to apply on the spot.
There are currently nine different job descriptions, including:
- Police Officer I: $5,471 per month
- Police Intelligence Research Analyst: $5,178 per month
- Emergency Services Dispatch Coordinator: $3,708 per month
- Park Security Officer I: $3,295 per month
- Public safety assistance: $3,167 per month
- Police cadet: non-civilian service, $15 per hour
- School crossing guard: $14 per hour
- Car pool attendant: $14 per hour
Maui Police Chief John Pelletier is approaching 100 days on the job next week, after being sworn in on Dec. 15, 2021. He provided department highlights at the regular meeting of the Maui Police Commission Wednesday.
In his report, Chief Pelletier called domestic violence and theft from vehicles, the “two biggest crime problems” the department is currently dealing with.
Crimes against persons are up 7% since the start of the year, including a 27% increase in aggravated assault with domestic violence at the top of this sector. Meanwhile, property crime is down -3%, with thefts from vehicles up around 50% so far this year, according to preliminary data provided by Chief Pelletier at the regular meeting. of the Police Commission on Wednesday.
The Chief also discussed highlights related to crime and trafficking.
He said a search warrant was executed on March 8, with police recovering more than 1,000 grams of crystal meth and $18,000 in US currency.
Just last week, the Traffic Division checked 240 vehicles and arrested eight people for driving a vehicle under the influence. This preceded the St. Patrick’s Day enforcement campaign which began on Thursday March 17, 2022 and continues this weekend.
Regarding training and education, Chief Pelletier said the police academy is adding crisis intervention training.
“We want to make sure that we always strive to be students – if you will – not only throughout our careers, but throughout our lives. Although I have people here for their careers, we will do everything to provide leadership, training and continuing education,” he said.
“We make it mandatory as a recruit, and we want to make sure we offer it to [personnel]… It helps with de-escalation… It helps build bridges of trust and transparency… It helps us do our best to deal with people in mental crisis,” said Chief Pelletier.
According to the chief, the Department has received 180 calls since the beginning of the year from people suffering from mental crisis. “So why wouldn’t we want to arm our officers with tools, because the most effective tool they have is their minds and their ability to communicate,” he said.
Commissioner Emmett Rodrigues asked about community policing efforts and, if any, changes that have been enacted.
“In each of the districts, you have community police officers, but as I mentioned before, being now 103 officers, there are certain things that we had to remove from centralization,” said Chief Pelletier. “So your CRS (Community Relations Section) as well as your game and morals [officers]–[they] have been sent back on patrol, but our Community Policing Officers are still on patrol… Our core group, who have done the vast majority of your homeless outreach and some of the other community training, it fully exists and continues to raise awareness for the homeless and others every week.
Commissioner Travis Tancayo expressed concern over recent news reports that featured interviews with several recently retired high-ranking officers, including a posting of one of the individuals to Moloka’i prior to their departure.
The commission has been told that it has the ability to hire and fire the chief and evaluate him; but can’t tell him how to run the department. The Company’s Assistant Counsel noted that the item was not on the agenda and the discussion was closed.
Terry Jones remembered: “Shadow of Loss”
At Wednesday’s meeting, the police chief and commissioners reflected on the loss of the chief’s executive secretary, Terry Jones, who was killed in a car accident on February 24, 2022, while pursuing a suspect who stole her purse.
“It’s still very difficult, but the chaplains in this service, the peer support team, not just within this agency, [but also] in the county – there are so many amazing people who have come together to support the department and continue to do so,” Maui Police Chief John Pelletier said at a Commission meeting on Wednesday.
In addition to his three decades of service with the MPD, Jones has also been involved in numerous fundraisers and benefits, including the Maui Police Relief Association, Special Olympics, Relay for Life and the annual Troy Barboza Torch Run.
“We held a Tip-a-Cop event over the weekend for Special Olympics, of which Terry was the biggest promoter. When I asked him to return to work in October, the first conversation we had [was] ‘What do you think of the Special Olympics and the Torch Race?’ and I couldn’t help but support him. This year, it’s definitely going to have a long shadow with his loss there,” said Chief Pelletier.
The Tip-a-Cop event raised $4,000 for Special Olympics athletes.
“We hope his family and loved ones find comfort in this time of grief and loss. Terry has made tremendous contributions to the community during his 32 year career with the Maui Police Department. Of course, no Word will never do justice to the impact she has had on the Department and the community, but we will continue to keep Terry and his family in our thoughts and prayers,” said Commission Chairman Frank De Rego.
A Celebration of Life is scheduled for Saturday, March 26 at the Wailuku Community Center, with visitation from 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and a ceremony to follow from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Visitation will end at 7 p.m.