The HPD Training Academy experience in a word? ‘Brutal,’ recruits say

The work is intense out of the gates, recruits say.
Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 5:49 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 15, 2022 at 5:53 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - From the moment they start, recruits in the Honolulu Police Training Academy are put to the test physically and mentally.

The work is intense out of the gates.

“It is a combination and boot camp and college,” said Maj. Mike Lambert, HPD training division. “As much as we test your mind throughout the day, in the afternoon, we test your body and that combination can be exhausting.”

As HPD tries to fill hundreds of vacancies, the department will welcome 13 new officers to the force Friday night after they’ve completed six-months of training.

On Thursday, HNN had an opportunity to hear from the incoming graduates along with those in recruit class 205, which just started six weeks ago.

“I knew that it was going to be challenging physically, especially, I was not an athlete growing up,” said HPD cadet Molly Wilt. “I knew that was going to be a challenge. I knew that there was going to be a lot of school work. Sometimes, it’s surprising what we do, but I’m enjoying every part of it.”

HPD says it’s constantly adjusting its training protocol and compared to decades ago, the department is now placing a greater emphasis on mental health incidents and discerning between criminal and crisis response.

“When it’s criminals, we’re gonna do what we do. We’re going to put them in cuffs and we’re going to take them away to protect the community,” Lambert said. “When someone is in crisis, you are gonna see us slow it down, talk to them, try our best to get them to services and avoid going to jail.”

A diverse skill set for today’s police officer ― and just part of what’s been a crash course.

“All the hard work we put in for six months, it’s finally paying off and to see everything that we’ve been through, the ups, the downs,” said incoming HPD graduate Branin Moore.

“It’s crazy to just actually be in this moment right now.”