HONOLULU (KHON2) — After more than 15 years of Honolulu police officers working the same patrol schedule, patrol officers will be shifting to longer work days, but in return will be getting a four-day weekend.
This move comes as the department works to recruit more officers to the department, a change that will take effect on Aug. 20.
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The Honolulu Police Department Assistant Chief Aaron Takasaki-Young said a shorter work week is picking up steam in police departments across the nation.
Takasaki-Young said, “It seems like the trend is to give police officers, especially patrol officers, a condensed work schedule.”
HPD patrol officers will go from working five nine-hour days to working three days a week. Two of their workdays will be 13-and-a-half-hour long shifts, while on the third day, they will work a 13-hour day.
The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers supports the change. The SHOPO Honolulu Chapter Chair Nick Schlapak said they have heard from many members who are interested in switching up their work hours.
“They think it’s more attractive than the current shift,” Schlapak said. “We wanted to do something different and more attractive not only to retain the officers that we currently have but attract new officers into the profession as well.”
The department is trying out a similar schedule through a pilot program in the Windward and Kalihi police districts. Officers there work three 12-hour days, with one week working a four-day week.
Takasaki-Young said, “The 3-12 pilot revealed that staffing increased say mid 70% to sometimes 80% and even 90%.”
He said that was a noticeable jump from staffing levels in the low 70% per shift.
Although recruitment of officers remains a critical issue, the department is still about 390 positions short and about 230 of those are for patrol officers.
The department is counting on the three-day workweek to help attract more officers.
Takasaki-Young said, “We also believe that a condensed work schedule is something a new generation of workers or prospective employees are looking for, especially in a post-pandemic world.”
But as HPD staffs up, some officers may have to work more hours.
Schlapak said, “Overtime is going to have to be spent in order to keep up the required amount of staffing to fill the calls that we get out there.”
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Meanwhile, the Honolulu City Council approved the HPD budget with $35 million going directly into patrol, HPD said most of it will be used to cover a recently approved pay raise for officers.