More officers patrolling the streets. Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard is making that happen. We learned HPD is going to have to spend on overtime and re-assign some officers, but many agree this addresses neighborhood concerns.
Increasing the number of patrol officers this year will look different for each district.
“Kapolei may have like 7 officers that are assigned out there that are supposed to be assigned out there. So this year there should be at least 5 of those officers out in Kapolei every day, for each of the watches,” said Chief Ballard.
KHON2 asked if that goal of 80-percent staffing for patrol is attainable this year. The Chief says yes.
“The patrol officers are working hard. We are taking a look at sick leave and vacation,” said Chief Ballard, “a lot of it is on overtime.”
In 2018, HPD spent $21,047,155 for patrol overtime. An increase from 2017 which was $14,137,537.
“We’ve talked to the city, the Mayor and the Managing Director, let them know our plans that’s why we’re doing it in 5-percent increments so that we can plan each year so that money is in the budget to cover the overtime cost,” said Chief Ballard.
The Department needs to fill about 270 vacancies, so officers could be reassigned to patrol within their districts. We’re told the other units’ work would not be affected because the officers would be brought in on overtime.
“The commanders can go and ask say the bike detail or Crime Reduction Unit to take a position in patrol if that’s necessary as well. That’s their prerogative,” said Chief.
Many agree, more police on the streets helps to prevent crime. That’s what Police Commission Chair Loretta Sheehan believes and she’s onboard with the Chief’s goal.
“It’s a very effective deterrent. It makes people feel safe and it makes people safer, so we are all in favor of that,” said Sheehan. “We’ll have to see how much it ends up costing and go from there but for now we need to keep our neighborhood safe.”