City audit finds inconsistent, ‘ineffective’ oversight of overtime at HPD as costs soar

Officials said surveys of HPD administrators show inconsistent interpretation and application...
Officials said surveys of HPD administrators show inconsistent interpretation and application of policies throughout all 19 divisions.(Hawaii News Now)
Published: May. 28, 2022 at 1:50 PM HST|Updated: May. 29, 2022 at 9:35 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new city audit finds that the Honolulu Police Department has failed to effectively manage overtime as OT costs soared by nearly 50% over the last five years.

Officials said surveys of HPD administrators show inconsistent interpretation and application of policies throughout all 19 divisions. Overtime pay is more than three times the amount earned for regular hours.

The audit also found:

  • Overtime cards are managed manually, increasing the risk for error, abuse and fraud.
  • Missing and inaccurate timecard data led HPD to pay nearly $30,000 for unsubstantiated overtime pay and over 370 hours of missing OT data.
  • Non-holiday overtime in patrol districts exceeded allocated hours by 263,036 hours in FY 2020.
  • The top 10 overtime earners received over $4 million in overtime pay over five years, which added an estimated $5.3 to $6 million in pension liability to city taxpayers.

The office said overtime usage at patrol districts has increased by nearly 166% over five years, from roughly 163,000 hours in FY 2016 to nearly 434,000 hours in FY 2020.

According to HPD majors and captains, the increase is attributed to minimum staffing increasing from 75% to 85% as a result of HPD strategic directives from the Chief of Police.

Despite HPD officer vacancies increasing, city auditors said unlimited overtime was the primary tool used to address shortages, but staffing minimums in some districts were still not met.

In response to the audit, HPD said they have planned to implement corrective measures for each of the recommendations.

“In general, we found the audit to be comprehensive and fair,” the department said. “We have also identified other features that will be incorporated into the application by expediting the auditing process.”

HPD said their projected timeframe to implement an electronic overtime application is July 2023. Officials also added they are considering setting limits on weekly OT hours.

To read the full report, click here.

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