Commission names final four for Big Island police chief

  • BIRD


The Hawaii County Police Commission on Tuesday revealed the four finalists to succeed Paul Ferreira, who retired Aug. 31 as the county’s police chief

It had been previously announced there were five finalists, but one application has been withdrawn by the applicant, according to the commission.


All four finalists are in-state applicants, but only one is currently employed by the Hawaii Police Department. She is Maj. Sherry Bird, commander of the Area II Field Operations Bureau in Kona. Bird has been a member of HPD since February 1998.

Bird, an alumna of Kailua High School on Oahu and a U.S. Army veteran, has spent all of her almost quarter-century career with the department in West Hawaii. She’s currently assigned to the Kona Field Operations Bureau.

She started as a patrol officer in South Kohala and Kona, served in the Criminal Intelligence Unit, was a detective and lieutenant in Kona Vice Section, lieutenant in Kona Criminal Investigation Division, and South Kohala patrol captain before her transfer as a captain to the field operations bureau.

In addition, Bird has an associate’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Phoenix.

She was promoted from captain to major on March 16, 2021.

A 1984 graduate of Waiakea High School, Capt. Paul Applegate has been a member of the Kauai Police Department since October 2000. Since June 2019, Applegate has been a captain in KPD’s Investigative Services Bureau. He also was a member of HPD from June 1999 to October 2000 before moving to the Garden Island.

Applegate has bachelor’s degrees in psychology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and business administration from UH-Hilo. He also served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1984 to 1990.

According to his application, Applegate has been acting assistant chief and captain in all three bureaus of KPD, the Administrative and Technical Bureau, the Patrol Services Bureau, and the Investigative Services Bureau.

In addition, Applegate is the plaintiff in an active federal lawsuit against Kauai County, KPD, the Kauai Police Commission and Kauai Police Chief Todd Raybuck.

The civil suit, filed in August 2021, alleges that in April 2020, Applegate was improperly passed over a promotion to assistant chief of the department’s Administrative and Technical Bureau because he is part-Japanese. Applegate’s lawsuit also alleges he was retaliated against by the chief after Applegate filed complaints against him with Kauai County Human Resources Department, one of which resulted in Raybuck being suspended five days without pay.

Edward Ignacio, a 1987 graduate of Laupahoehoe High School, retired from the FBI in December 2021 as senior resident agent at the agency’s Hawaii office in Kapolei, Oahu.

Ignacio, who has a bachelor’s in speech communication from UH-Manoa, was an officer with HPD from October 1996 to January 2000. He also was an officer in the Honolulu Police Department from October 1993 to October 1996.

According to his application, Ignacio was supervisor of the FBI’s Honolulu Division SWAT team, supervised a multiagency federal/state task force that gathered intelligence and conducted investigations on international and domestic terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and HAZMAT matters in the Pacific.

In addition, he was deployed for the FBI for supervisory roles in protective details for special events including the Super Bowl and the Olympics, as well as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, while in the Honolulu Division.

He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and completed numerous FBI advanced training courses since.

Ignacio is best known, however, for competing in long-distance runs wearing law enforcement tactical gear. He does so mostly for awareness and to raise funds for a memorial for officers killed in the line of duty.

Maj. Benjamin Moszkowicz is a 22-year veteran in the Honolulu Police Department and currently is in charge of its traffic division. He is also former commander of Honolulu Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division and a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Moszkowicz holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration with a specialization in justice administration from the UH-West Oahu and a master’s degree in law enforcement and public safety leadership from the University of San Diego. He previously was a Fellow at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu.

The commission, which will select the next chief, has scheduled special meetings on both sides of the island to introduce the finalists to the public, interview them, and to take public testimony.

The Hilo meeting is at 9 a.m. Monday at the County Council Chambers in Hilo, and the West Hawaii meeting is at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the County Council Chambers in the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kailua-Kona. Both meetings will be available to the public via Zoom.

Anyone wishing to submit testimony online via Zoom must sign up by 9 a.m. Friday by contacting Charisse Correa, the commission’s secretary, at (808) 932-2950 or

Email John Burnett at

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