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Amid staffing shortages, HPD eyes 12-hour shifts for patrol officers

Among the changes being discussed: A pilot program in two districts that would schedule officers three days a week for 12-hour shifts.
Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 5:56 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2022 at 6:15 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu’s interim police chief and the SHOPO union have met three times in recent weeks to address staffing shortages in patrol divisions.

Among the changes being discussed: A pilot program in two districts that would schedule officers three days a week for 12-hour shifts.

“We’ve been informally polling our membership and we feel the majority are eager to try this out,” Nicholas Schlapak, of SHOPO, told City Council members at a briefing Wednesday.

Interim Chief Rade Vanic said that would increase staffing levels by 10-15%.

“We’re also looking at different ways to increase staffing utilizing other units that are not assigned to patrol or units that are assigned to patrol but in a support units,” Vanic said.

He is also committing to 75% staffing for those patrolling the streets. There have been shifts with less than 50% recently.

Councilmember Carol Fukunaga asked both Vanic and Shlapack for more details on the underlying problem of shortages.

“Is it a recruitment issue or is it a potential salary issue?” Fukunaga asked.

Shlapak said recruitment and retention are problems.

“If the 300 or so vacancies were filled right now, you’d obviously hear a different tone from us,” Shlapack said.

The union said they’re hoping for better pay to help with that.

The department is looking to add a recruit class in 2023.

Officers will also be allowed to work more overtime during a shift, from six maximum hours to eight.

There’s no timeline on when the changes will happen as the discussions for all of these options are continuing.

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