HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawaii island Police Department, isn’t the only department doing major recruitment this holiday season. The Maui Police Department is upping their recruitment efforts as well, because their number of vacancies keeps growing each year due to retirements and officers moving.

“Most of them recently have been because of people who are finding other positions in other jursidictions or localities,” said Sgt. John Sang with the Maui Police Department.

He said many officers left or retired in 2018, leaving many open positions, some which have not been filled yet.

The Maui Police Department said it currently has 48 vacancies. The Hawaii County Police Department has 49. The Honolulu Police Department has 177.

Malcolm Lutu, president of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO), said the increase in vacancies is a trend they’ve been seeing.

“Every department nationwide has been suffering from a shortage of officers and Hawaii is included in that too,” said Lutu.

He said this could be because of multiple factors like lower pay and a change in retirement benefits, allowing officers to get full benefits after 30 years instead of 25. However, another big concern is perception of police.

“We take a lot of heat from social media, but as soon as that person needs help, they’re going to call, and we’re going to go no matter who they are,” said Lutu.

These empty positions also make it difficult for current officers.

“For our line officers, our patrol officers, the people that you see driving around on a daily basis, it is challenging. There are more demands placed on them,” said Sgt. Sang. “But everyone at the police department we all share the same concept, the same mentality that we are here to protect and serve this Maui community.”

Sgt. Sang said they’re expecting their current vacancies to grow even more as officers retire at the end of this year.

They’re also hiring in other roles besides officer, such as evidence custodian, emergency services dispatcher, safety aide and crossing guard. To find out more and apply, you can visit this page.