Could a 3-day week help ease HPD’s staffing shortages? It’s working so far

The pilot comes as Oahu experiences a jump in violent crime, especially homicides so far this year.
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 5:15 PM HST|Updated: May. 16, 2022 at 5:38 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A pilot project to put more officers on Oahu’s streets is halfway through ― and looks successful so far.

On April 3, officers in two districts started working three, 12-hour days per week as part of a test to see if it could ease shortages in patrol.

Prior to that, some shifts reported less than 50% staffing.

The program is happening in two of the eight HPD districts: District 4, which spans the windward side, and district 5, which covers Kalihi.

“On some days, it’s 90% staffing or more,” said HPD Capt. Parker Bode.

The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers calls it successful so far, too.

Dustin DeRollo, spokesperson for SHOPO, said every watch in the pilot is seeing an increase. “A huge, immediate step to addressing those police beats that were going unfilled earlier this year,” he said.

The pilot comes as Oahu experiences a jump in violent crime, especially homicides so far this year.

Both HPD and the union said the four days off allow the officers more time for family, hobbies or just a reset before returning to the streets.

The pilot program runs through the end of June.

After it’s complete, those involved will participate in a survey.

The administration will also review the costs of the program, which includes overtime for officers called back to the station.

The information will be provided to whoever is picked to be the next police chief to decide if the program should be permanent.

The pilot project is one of a several options HPD is trying out in a bid to recruit and retain officers.

HPD has more than 300 vacancies.

At the training academy, HPD is adding more recruit classes but keeping them smaller, going from four to six.

“The recruits will have more individualized attention,” said Bode, who believes that will mean less attrition.

DeRollo said that decision is “better than doing nothing, but it’s not going to solve the crisis.”

DeRollo said HPD cannot hire fast enough to keep up with attrition but thinks the combination of programs can help.

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