HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Honolulu Police Department is looking at capping overtime and implementing several other policies to address issues with overtime abuse highlighted in the City’s audit of the department.

During the Honolulu Police Commissions monthly meeting, HPD Interim Chief Rade Vanic explained the department is already taking steps to resolve problems brought to light in the city’s audit of their overtime policies.

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City auditor Arushi Kumar called HPD’s management of overtime ‘ineffective’ with a lack of consistency following procedures.

Vanic said HPD is developing an internal committee to address that problem.

The auditor’s report showed a huge increase in overtime payments, with $38 million spent in 2019, compared to $21 million three years prior.

One of the concerns highlighted in the report — the use of paper time cards to track overtime hours which the auditor said leaves room for human error, abuse and fraud.

In a small sample of time cards, the audit uncovered at least $30,000 of overtime paid out that was unaccounted for

“We’ve been working actually for the past couple months now on an automated overtime system and automated overtime card. And what this will do it will replace the antiquated paper cards that we’ve been using,” said Vanic.

Vanic said the design process will take some time but they expect to implement the new system department-wide next summer.

Overtime has been a tool used to help address HPD’s staffing shortage. Vanic said a pilot program they’ve been running with officers working three, 12-hour shifts is showing promise in dealing with that issue.

“We went from 75% (staffing per shift) in a consistent base prior to implementing three, 12 (hour shifts) to, in some cases, a low 90%,” he said. “By implementing something like this islandwide that would then maybe have the same benefits occurring in the same districts that we’re piloting it in, four and five, we’ll be able to see those effects across the island and hopefully reduce the amounts of overtime we need because of the higher level of staffing.”

The report also addressed concerns of officer fatigue working too much overtime.

“There is a potential that we’re looking at possibly implementing some type of overtime limit,” he explained.

But he said they still need to ensure they maintain proper staffing to keep the community safe.

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The auditor plans to run a follow-up audit in three years to evaluate HPD’s progress.