Officers in probe get paid $250,000
Police officers being investigated by the FBI in a cockfighting case have been on paid leave for nine months
A police union official estimates that the Honolulu Police Department has spent about a quarter of a million dollars to pay five officers who were placed on paid leave nine months ago pending an FBI investigation into illegal cockfighting operations.
HPD officials could not comment on the case yesterday because it is ongoing, but did confirm that the situation involving more than half a year of paid leave is unprecedented.
"When the officers were placed on this leave status, it was never expected for it to be this long," Chief Boisse Correa said through a spokeswoman.
An official for the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers said by averaging what the officers make over the nine-month period, he estimates they have received about a quarter of a million dollars to not come to work.
"We're glad they're getting paid ... but with our current budget condition it seems quite a waste to spend approximately $250,000 over nine months because of gossip and innuendo," said Detective Alex Garcia, SHOPO Oahu Chapter chairman.
"We find it terribly disappointing that our officers remain in political limbo instead of providing the service to the community that they are being paid to perform."
One officer who was under investigation has since retired, according to police sources.
The 28-year veteran had last been assigned to the Criminal Intelligence Unit prior to retiring on Sept. 30. HPD officials did not confirm that the officer retired but said only that he was no longer with the department.
HPD placed the CIU officer and four others on paid administrative leave about nine months ago while the FBI investigated whether the officers were involved in accepting payoffs from illegal cockfighting operations on the North Shore.
FBI agents raided the homes of the five officers and a relative of one of the officers on March 31 and April 6 as part of the investigation.
The officers under investigation include the CIU officer who retired; a 22-year veteran sergeant with the gambling detail; two members of the District 4 (Windward Oahu) Crime Reduction Unit -- a six-year and a 20-year veteran; and a 20-year veteran District 2 (Wahiawa-North Shore) patrol sergeant.
None of the officers involved has been arrested or charged with any crimes.
A source close to the investigation said one of the officers involved allegedly accepted a payoff from a confidential FBI informant.
Honolulu FBI spokesman Tony Lang declined to comment on the investigation.