HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than 100 recruits graduated from the Honolulu Police academy in 2019 ― a triple-digit gain to the department that hasn’t happened in recent memory.
The police department credits several recent changes in the recruiting strategy.
One of those changes: An additional class was added so those who qualify don’t have to wait as long.
“We’re doing this new thing where it’s continuous," Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said.
“Instead of filling for one class we have like four classes and as soon as (recruits are) ready to go in we’re just boom, boom, boom, we’re just popping them in whichever class."
In 2018, there were 56 recruits who graduated. Last year, that number almost doubled to 102.
Previously, retirement and resignation outpaced the numbers of those joining the force.
Ballard insists they’re not lowering standards, just increasing opportunities.
HPD is also currently accepting applications for lateral transfers to fast track officers from the mainland and neighbor islands.
Before this, officers from other jurisdictions had to go through the same process as someone without any law enforcement experience.
HPD is competing with mainland cities that often aggressively recruit in Hawaii, offering almost twice the starting pay.
At a job fair in Honolulu in 2016, the San Jose Police Department boasted their starting salary ― $116,000.
HPD has 2,143 authorized positions with 1,825 of those filled. There are 123 recruits currently in training.
Ballard hopes three solid years of recruiting can bring the number of officers up to full staff.