The ‘out-of-the-box’ solution to HPD’s recruiting woes: 3-day workweeks for all patrol officers

In addition, when the schedules shift every few months, they’ll get two weeks with five days off.
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 5:34 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 7, 2023 at 5:35 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - HPD patrol officers will soon be shifting to an innovative schedule that will have them working three long days with four days off as part of a bid to boost recruitment and cover staffing shortages.

Officials say the nearly 1,000 patrol officers will work 13 1/2 hours for two days a week and 13 hours one day a week. That adds up to 40, which means they’ll four days off.

In addition, when the schedules shift every few months, they’ll get two weeks with five days off.

The change is a way to boost recruiting. HPD’s officer force is down nearly 20%, with about 400 vacancies.

“An out-of-the-box solution” is how Robert Cavaco, president of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers union, describes the unique schedule.

HPD Deputy Chief Rade Vanic said the change will also help with staffing shortages.

During a pilot project that tested three, 12-hour work weeks in two districts, staffing went from 75% ― the minimum ― to nearly 90% on some days.

“Because you only have two watches, you don’t have to staff that third watch, those officers then are spread out throughout the week,” Vanic said.

Most officers were supportive of the change, according to SHOPO, but there were concerns about fatigue.

“The officers are still only going to be out on the road for 12 hours,” said Cavaco. “The extra hour-and-a-half will be for things like finishing up late reports, getting any kind of in-service training.”

Officers can also use that time to upload body camera videos and exercise at the station.

HPD will be the only department in Hawaii with this schedule, when it goes into effect in August.

The Maui Police Department has patrol officers working three, 12-hour days with an extra shift added every few weeks. Both the Kauai and Hawaii Island police departments are looking to offer similar changes.