Standards raised for next Maui police chief


KIHEI, Maui — The next Maui police chief will need at least a bachelor’s degree or be a graduate of the FBI National Academy and have at least 15 years of law enforcement experience.

The Maui Police Commission voted Wednesday on stricter requirements for applicants seeking the job that pays $135,000 a year.

Chief Gary Yabuta is retiring to take on a new position with a federal anti-drug trafficking task force in Honolulu.

The county charter currently requires at least five years of law enforcement experience, including three years at the administrative level. In addition to increasing law enforcement experience to 15 years, the commission voted on requiring that at least five of those years be at the administrative level.

Out-of-state applicants will be allowed to apply as long as the new chief is a Hawaii resident within 60 days of being appointed.

Commissioner Michael Wilson expressed concern that higher education requirements is “narrowing the scope” of applicants.

Chairman Roger Dixon said this was done “intentionally, to raise the bar.”

Yabuta said he has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and the chief he replaced, Tom Phillips, has a four-year college degree in economics. But other recent deputies and chiefs, and some current high-ranking officers, have two-year associate degrees, the Maui News reported.

The commission hasn’t set dates for accepting applications.