HONOLULU (KHON2) — The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO) held a news conference on Thursday to discuss the staffing shortage at the Honolulu Police Department (HPD).

“This dangerous understaffing is an open secret within the department,” said Robert Cavaco, President of SHOPO. “But they are simply turning a blind eye to the problem. Today we are exposing to the public just how bad it truly is.”

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According to Cavaco, HPD is deliberately choosing not to deploy enough police officers to protect every neighborhood, which he calls dangerous and unacceptable.

“Our residents deserve more than a roll of the dice to determine whether they will have an officer patrol their neighborhood that day or not,” Cavaco said in a statement. “This is simply not fair and it’s not safe for our residents or our officers.”

During the news conference, Cavaco showed maps of where they saw shortages over the past weekend, from Feb. 4 to Feb. 6, to show the negative impact on neighborhood police patrols.

“The department should immediately authorize overtime to bring our staffing up to 100%,” he said.

Cavaco adds that this has been going on for 15 years, which he has seen during his time as police officer.

“Morale is down the tombs,” said Cavaco. “We believe that a lot of our HPD administrators is out of touch with what’s going on the road.”

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He wants to sit down with all the stakeholders, including HPD, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi and the Honolulu City Council, to figure out how they are going to solve this.