Friday, October 3, 2003

HPD hopes to find
recruits in Oregon

The department plans to test
up to 300 who want to be cops here


Saturday, Oct. 4, 2003

>> Honolulu police will test applicants in Oregon on Nov. 5 and 6. A Page A1 story in yesterday's early edition incorrectly said the tests would be Nov. 4 and 5. Also, several HPD retirees were hired as investigators by the state Attorney General's Office. The story incorrectly indicated that HPD lost working officers to the AG's office.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at

Honolulu police will travel to Oregon next month to recruit officers, a reversal of fortune for a department that has seen scores of its officers leave for more lucrative jobs in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere.

City & County of Honolulu

HPD officials said they plan to test up to 300 interested applicants in Oregon, in the department's first out-of-state trip to fill vacancies.

Police officials said the trip was spurred partly by a number of applicants who contacted HPD from the Pacific Northwest recently. HPD Career Center officials said the trip is intended to make the testing process more accessible for interested parties.

"Oregon had a lot of folks laid off because of the economy and the Oregon State Police laid off a third of their force," said Detective David Do of the Career Center. "So this is more to meet everybody halfway ... because otherwise they'd have to fly back and forth from their home to Honolulu three times minimum to go through the testing process."

The testing will take place on Nov. 4 and 5 at the Portland Airport Sheraton, and HPD officials said they will take up to 150 applicants a day.

HPD has 260 vacancies within the department out of 2,056 authorized positions. There are 138 recruits training at the academy in hopes of filling some of those vacancies.

Do did not have an estimate of how many people they expected to test in Portland but said that they had many inquires from Oregon and other parts of the Pacific Northwest after HPD posted its vacancies on its Web site in August.

"The interest has been coming from all over," he said. "We're excited in that it's something that's never been done before. We're hoping we'll be overwhelmed because that means we're on the right track."

It's a trip the department needs to be successful because of the number of officers it loses every year to retirement and resignations. According to an HPD spokeswoman, the department has lost an average of 157 officers a year from 1999 to 2002. This year 160 officers are eligible for retirement.

"A full police force -- that would be a wonderful thing to see," said Do. "But the reality is with people leaving and retiring we're always going to have a void."

Over the past few years, it has been HPD that has had its staff raided by other law enforcement agencies offering better paying jobs.

In 2000, the Oregon State Police and the Portland Police Bureau came to Honolulu to recruit HPD's finest. In 1998, the King County Sheriff's Department recruited here to fill 60 vacancies.

From 1998 to last month, HPD officials said they had lost a total of 96 officers to other law enforcement agencies, but that includes agencies within Hawaii such as the state Attorney General's office, which has hired a number of former Honolulu police officers to work as investigators. Some of the recruiters came all the way from the East Coast.

"The U.S. Capitol Police did some testing and recruiting here recently," Do said. "They (outside law enforcement agencies) come all the time."

According to HPD officials, 11 of the 96 Honolulu officers have returned to the department.

While Do said some of the potential police recruits he will test have Hawaii ties, most of them are "everyday folks from the mainland."

The trip comes on the heels of an arbitrator's decision last week that police officers for all Hawaii counties should receive a 16 percent pay raise.

If the state's four county councils agree to fund the collective bargaining agreement, police officers will receive across-the-board 4 percent increases in each year of the four-year agreement, effective retroactively to July 1.

"It should make a difference when we're up there talking to people," said Do.


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