Deputy sheriffs paid to direct Punahou traffic


POSTED: Thursday, March 19, 2009

Question: Each morning on Manoa Road, there is a policeman directing traffic outside Punahou School at Piper Pali Road between 7:30 and 8 a.m. or so. Is he paid for by the city or by Punahou? If by the city, it should stop, as we don't have policemen outside public schools and the budget is so terrible. If Punahou pays, how much is this per year?

Answer: The special duty officer directing traffic outside Punahou School is not with the Honolulu Police Department, but with the Sheriff's Division, which is under the state Department of Public Safety.

HPD no longer allows special duty officers to be hired for such long-term contracts, said HPD spokesman Maj. Frank Fujii.

Punahou hires two deputy sheriffs at a special duty rate set by the Department of Public Safety, said William Luat, director of campus security for the school.

The rates are comparable to HPD's special duty rate, which ranges from a minimum of $30 an hour to a maximum $45 an hour, with a two-hour minimum, depending on the rank of the officer. The cost is $30 an hour for a deputy sheriff; $35 for a sergeant; and $40 an hour for a lieutenant, said Louise Kim-McCoy, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety.

“;The sheriffs are hired to do traffic control during the peak traffic hours in the morning and afternoon to lessen the impact that our traffic may have on our surrounding community,”; Luat said.

They also patrol the campus after morning traffic assignments before returning to resume traffic control in the afternoon.

Asked about the kinds of assignments special duty sheriffs are allowed to take, Kim-McCoy said, “;It's really looked upon case by case.”;

Prohibited assignments include “;jobs which will in any way reduce their effectiveness as members of the Department of Public Safety or where the employer restricts them in performing their duties as state law enforcement officers,”; she said.

While we're on the subject, it may interest you to learn what HPD's policy is regarding special duty officers.

Special duty rates are set by HPD “;to ensure consistency and parity,”; so officers cannot be paid a rate different from the schedule. One exception: An officer of the rank of sergeant or higher who accepts an assignment calling for a regular officer will be compensated at the lower rank. The money paid goes directly to the officer.

In addition to compensation paid to the officers, HPD assesses service fees for vehicles used; mileage fees; administrative charges; and workers compensation insurance.

HPD officers may be hired to provide security at events and businesses; for traffic control at community events and construction sites; and as escorts for moving heavy equipment involving a state or city permit.

They may not be hired on behalf of an employer or union involved in a labor dispute or other dispute; at any union gathering; for anything implying partisan politics; at establishments where the primary business is selling or consuming alcohol; for assignments conflicting with established special duty policies; or to provide bodyguard services.