HPD to restore 5-day work week
Many officers favor the current schedule, which allows them to work other jobs
Honolulu Police Chief Boisse Correa has decided to do away with three- and four-day workweeks for police officers and dispatchers -- a change that will affect more than half of the department's 2,200 employees.
Some 1,100 officers and dispatchers are on three-day weeks, working 12 hours a day. About 165 work four days a week, with 10-hour shifts.
Detective Alex Garcia, Oahu chapter chairman of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, said he knows "a lot of officers that were very disappointed" with Correa's decision. Many officers liked the modified schedules, he said, because they were able to work other jobs to make ends meet.
But Garcia added the change was expected and that "we will adjust."
Putting everyone on a five-day week, Correa said yesterday at a meeting with members of the media, will improve communication between supervisors and officers. It will also mean quicker responses to the public.
Police spokeswoman Michelle Yu said that when an officer is off four days a week, "their ability to respond to a follow-up or a request from the public" is delayed.
Also, Correa said 10- or 12-hour days can leave officers fatigued and "not as alert as they should be," potentially putting themselves and others in danger. In at least one instance, he said, fatigue contributed to a car accident involving an officer.
"We know we have the best officers in the best department, but we have to maintain our relationship with the community," Correa said.
All officers and dispatchers will be on a five-day week as soon as June.
The three-day schedule started in 1997 as a pilot project to boost recruitment and retention. Two years later the pilot project was expanded to Kalihi.
It was taken islandwide in 2000.
Garcia said the project was one of "mutual consent" between the union and department, and does not affect any contract obligations.
Correa told officers about the change through e-mail yesterday and said he expected a "period of denial and anger, maybe."
Officers were encouraged to share their comments on the decision, he said.
Deputy Chief Paul Putzulu has been charged with overseeing the transition between modified and five-day schedules.
Meanwhile, Correa said he wants to work on increasing pay and benefits for officers, saying they should not be forced to hold other jobs to make ends meet. He also said he will ask for 300 more officers in his upcoming budget request.