The Honolulu Police Department recently released their operating budget, and as of February, they have about 253 officer vacancies to fill.
HPD says to address the shortage of officers, they’ve had to bring in officers on overtime.
“Guys will take different beats just to help out, so they make the manpower, and they make it safe for the rest of the officers on the road. It’s something that has to be done,” said Malcolm Lutu, State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers president.
We cannot be every place at the same time but with more guys out there, we can actually make a difference,” said Lutu.
But he says that recruitment numbers have gone down nationwide and one factor is safety.
“If you notice lately, this is the most officer involved shootings we’ve ever had since I’ve been a policeman, and I make 30 years,” said Lutu.
He says another factor is pay.
“Mainland departments are still trying to grab our officers and they’re offering 10, 20, 30 thousand dollars more.”
City council member Kymberly Pine agrees that higher officer pay should be considered.
“Hawaii is one of the most expensive places to live and if we want a quality police department, we do need to pay them fairly,” said Pine, who represents Honolulu City District 1.
She says the council will support HPD hiring efforts.
“The feedback that we are getting from our constituents is that they feel that there is not enough police officers, especially beat police officers that are responding to scenes of crimes,” said Pine.
HPD says they’ve made several changes to attract new officers, including shortening the hiring process and boosting online recruitment.
They hope to fill about 30 officer vacancies by July.