New Maui Police Department Chief John Pelletier is sworn in by 2nd Circuit Judge Kirstin Hamman on Wednesday morning. Alongside Pelletier is his wife Cristy Pelletier. After his swearing in, John Pelletier spoke about creating lokahi — unity and harmony — between community and ministry. “We are going to open the doors and windows of this hale. It’s the popular station, it’s the popular department and we’ll make sure everyone knows and feels that,” Pelletier said. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

WAILUKU – Saying the Maui Police Department will be the “people’s department”, New Chief of Police John Pelletier spoke about creating lokahi — unity and harmony — between the community and the police force.

“We are going to open the doors and windows of this hale. This is the people’s station, this is the people’s department and we will make sure everyone knows and feels it,” Pelletier said to applause outside Wailuku Station on Wednesday morning during his swearing-in and first day on the job.

Pelletier, a former captain of the Metropolitan Police Department in Las Vegas, quoted Martin Luther King Jr.: “Keep moving forward.”

“That will be the theme of this administration,” he added. “Challenges are opportunities and we have incredible opportunities. We have the opportunity to move forward and create lokahi with the community and the department on levels never seen before.

Second Circuit Judge Kirstin Hamman swore in Pelletier and his deputy, Charles Hank III, also a veteran of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. In attendance were Pelletier and Hank’s family, county and state chiefs and the Maui Police Commission that selected the chief, as well as fellow officers and MPD staff.

New Deputy Chief Charles Hank III shakes hands with 2nd Circuit Court Judge Kirstin Hamman after being sworn in on Wednesday. Hank’s wife, Lisa Hank, watches.

Pelletier, a 22-year veteran of the Las Vegas department and commanding officer of the Major Violator/Narcotics Bureau, was selected Oct. 5 as the final candidate to take first place from a list of five finalists. He was the finalists’ only non-Maui resident.

In addition to highlighting lokahi on Wednesday, Pelletier said he has also begun working with Maui County residents.

“We have already started to build bridges with the community, even with some who have never felt included before”, he said.

Pelletier said he worked with the community to put together the Maui Police Department’s Multicultural Advisory Council, some of whose founding members attended.

He also called the department and the officers “incredible.”

MPD officers observe Wednesday’s swearing-in ceremony.

“You are among the finest men and women to wear the badge and take the oath not only in the nation but in the world and I am so proud of you,” said Pelletier. “You risk your life every day for those you have never even met. There is no greater love than this. There is no greater example of the aloha spirit than this .

Mayor Michael Victorino was ill and did not make it to the ceremony, although his wife, Joycelyn, and chief executive Sandy Baz attended.

As the audience and chefs stood in the hot morning sun, Baz joked that Pelletier and Hank were from a “Oasis in the middle of the desert” and now find themselves in a “oasis in the middle of the Pacific.”

“But it’s a really important thing, for us to be our home. It’s not just the tropical paradise, but the home that we grew up in, that we love, care for and cherish. and whom we protect, we serve. That is really what it is about today as you begin your service here,” Baz said, thanking the men for taking the job.

“The Mayor and I are here for you, here for your support and members of council, our entire team, administration, everyone here in the county looking forward to your excellence, looking forward to your success, we thank you for taking on this challenge, we thank your families for the sacrifice you will provide,” Baz said.

Baz also paid tribute to former police chief Tivoli Faaumu, who retired in May, as well as deputy chief Dean Rickard, who served as acting chief.

“There is a culture here. The crop is called ohana,” Council Chair Alice Lee said at the ceremony. “We help each other in a good way. We take care of each other. I know it will be part of your culture as well.

“We have worked with the department on a number of projects and we have a very close working relationship with the police department. We hope this will continue.” Lee added.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at [email protected]

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