Who are the Hawai‘i Police Chief finalists?
After a nearly six-month process, the Hawai‘i County Police Commission has narrowed the candidate field for police chief from a pool of 44 to four finalists.
One finalist is an internal candidate, two other finalists have direct ties to the Big Island, and the fourth finalist is from Honolulu.
The Commission will interview the candidates — Paul N. Applegate, Sherry D. Bird, Edward G. Ignacio and Benjamin T. Moszkowicz — over two days next week.
The community can provide input at two upcoming meetings. The first will be in Hilo on Dec. 12 and the second will be in Kona on Dec. 13. Both meetings will start at 9 a.m.
A fifth finalist was selected, but the candidate rescinded his/her application.
The Hawai‘i County Police Commission has been searching to fill the top cop position after Chief Paul Ferreira announced his retirement in June. Starting with a pool of 44, which had been whittled down to 21, the candidates were asked to fill out a questionnaire as part of the hiring process. The applicants were only known to the commission by numbers to keep the process unbiased.
Today, the police commission provided the applications and questionnaires submitted to the commission by the finalists. Here’s a look at each finalist.
Paul Applegate: He is Acting Assistant Chief, Patrol Services Bureau at the Kauaʻi Police Department. Applegate was born in Hilo and graduated from Waiākea High School in 1984.
He served in the United States Army Reserve for six years and in 1999 he applied to be a police officer in Hawai’i County, graduating from HPD’s 57th Recruit Class. He transferred to the Kaua’i Police Department in 2000. Throughout his tenure on the Garden Isle, Applegate has been commander of all three bureaus with KPD as well as lieutenant for the Internal Affairs/Criminal Investigation with the chief’s office.
He graduated from the FBI National Academy in 2014.
Applegate has a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Hawai’i at Hilo, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UH-Mānoa, and is currently working on a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Bethel University. He is expected to graduate in 2024.
Applegate filed a lawsuit against his department and KPD Chief Todd G. Raybuck last year for discrimination.
Sherry D. Bird: She is a 24-year veteran at the Hawaiʻi Police Department, currently serving as major for the Area II Field Operations Bureau. Bird’s promotion from lieutenant to major last year was historic. She became one of three women within the department’s history to hold that rank.
Bird Kona oversees the Area II Field Operations Bureau, which include the Traffic Enforcement Unit, Criminal Investigations Division, patrol, community policing and school resource officers. She provides direct supervision of seven subordinate staff members and 237 sworn and non-sworn employees.
Bird earned an Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Phoenix in 2012. She also is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
Edward G. Ignacio: He retired as a Senior Resident Agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigations in 2020.
He has 29 years of law enforcement experience, including serving as a police officer for the Hawaiʻi Police Department from from 1996 to 2000 and for the Honolulu Police Department.
He started his career with the FBI in El Paso, Texas where he was a certified undercover agent and on the SWAT team. From 2008-18, Ignacio worked in the Honolulu Division supervising the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the Pacific.
Ignacio was deployed by the FBI in various leadership roles to National Security Special Events, Olympic Games, Super Bowls and other high visibility special events and protective details.
Ignacio graduated from Laupāhoehoe High School, now known as Laupāhoehoe Community Public Charter School on the Big Island. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication from the University of Hawai‘i.
Benjamin T. Moszkowicz: He is a 22-year veteran with the Honolulu Police Department, currently serving as major within the Traffic Division.
Throughout his career, Moszkowicz has worked in every division within the department, including: Information Technology, Human Resources, Criminal Investigation and Traffic Division.
Moszkowicz also has worked as a grant manager, supervisor and watch commander in patrol, traffic and administrative assignments.
He recently graduated from the FBI National Academy. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Hawaiʻi-West Oahu and a Master’s degree in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership from the University of San Diego.