HPD Chief defends reassignments of officers who are also union officials

HPD Chief defends reassignments of officers who are also union officials

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard took the stand Friday before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board to defend her decision to reassign officers shortly after she took over as chief.

The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, SHOPO, filed a complaint against Ballard after she moved officers assigned to the Peer Support Unit.

She turned that unit from one that had full time officers, to one that was volunteer only.

The officers were all SHOPO officials and claim they were given less desirable assignments.

SHOPO President Tenari Maafala, who has served about thirty years, was sent to overnights in Waikiki patrol.

Ballard says he was only sent there because that was the last district he was in before moving to peer support and that Maafala could have used his seniority to request a different assignment.

"Sergeant Maafala did not put in a transfer and the reason we notified them early was that way they could also put in a transfer if they chose to go to someplace else," Ballard testified.

Ballard pointed out that there was a need for more patrol officers in Waikiki because of a spike in crime late last year.

Maafala says Ballard also violated policy when she was quoted by an online news media outlet saying he was abusing overtime.

Attorney for SHOPO, Vladimir Devens, says the statements negatively portrayed Maafala who has been a decorated officer.

The hearings will continue into next week it's unclear how long the board will take to make a decision.

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