The wife of "Dog the Bounty Hunter" reality TV star Duane "Dog" Chapman should have a role in helping select the next chief of the Honolulu Police Department, the police commission's chairman said.
Beth Chapman's background in the bail bonds business will be beneficial, Chairman Max Sword told fellow commissioners at a meeting Wednesday where they explained their nominations for a five-member citizen panel that will help asses candidates vying to replace former Chief Louis Kealoha, who agreed to retire amid a federal investigation into corruption allegations.
"She deals with the police department almost every day. ... She's on the other side of the table, so to speak," Sword said.
"Cause she bails people out?" said Commissioner Loretta Sheehan, sounding incredulous.
Sword said he's known Chapman personally for more than 10 years. Sword's wife, Mona Wood-Sword, is the Chapmans' former publicist.
"This was a surprise to me, as everybody else," Wood-Sword said. "I think he was looking for somebody a little different."
A&E series "Dog the Bounty Hunter" was canceled in 2012. The Chapmans, who live in Honolulu, later starred in "Dog and Beth: On the Hunt," which aired on Country Music Television.
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Chapman said she's honored to be considered and would gladly serve if selected. She noted that she's president of the Professional Bail Agents of the United States and has been fighting bail reform.
The department needs a "fresh start" after Kealoha's departure, she said. "Even if it turns out that our chief was acting correctly I think that the black cloud that it brought over the department, it brought sort of a bad vibe over the whole Honolulu Police Department," she said.
Kealoha agreed to retire after receiving notice from the FBI that he's the target of an investigation. A federal grand jury is looking into allegations of civil rights abuses and corruption. Kealoha's attorneys have denied any wrongdoing.
Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin filed a lawsuit last year claiming the Chapmans' Da Kine Bail Bonds owes the state $35,000. Chapman denied the allegations. Chin's special assistant, Deputy Attorney General Joshua Wisch, said Thursday the parties are trying to reach settlements. Wisch declined to comment on Chapman being considered for the citizen panel.
Sword said he wasn't aware of the lawsuit and that it doesn't change his decision to nominate her.
There weren't specific criteria for commissioners to nominate two people, Sword said. The others on the list of 13 nominees include a former Honolulu mayor and a retired family court judge.
Each commissioner gets to vote for their top five picks. Commission staff will tabulate the results and based on that, select five people to serve on the panel.
State Sen. Will Espero, who has been critical of the police commission, questioned why Sword didn't disclose his wife's past business relationship with the Chapmans. He said he's also heard concerns about how local people were portrayed on the reality shows.
Sword responded by saying his wife had nothing to do with his choice and that he doesn't watch reality TV.
"People don't realize she's a very smart businesswoman," he said of Chapman.
Tourists flocks to Da Kine Bail Bonds daily, Chapman said, adding that a deal is in the works for her and her husband to star in another reality show set in Hawaii.