Honolulu gets fed money for 21 new police officers


POSTED: Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Honolulu Police Department has been awarded federal stimulus funds to pay for 21 new police officers for three years, amounting to $5,197,353 in wages and benefits.

This comes just a month after Honolulu Police Chief Boisse Correa predicted that the last HPD recruit graduation might have been the sole recruit class for the year, given the city's budget constraints.

“;Now, with the 21 positions, that's going to help us out big time and for the future, so that's just a big plus for us,”; Correa said yesterday at a news conference.

Honolulu was one of only 1,046 law enforcement agencies nationwide to receive a piece of the $1 billion pie in special funding out of the 7,272 agencies that applied.

“;The overarching goal of the Recovery Act is to help rebuild our economy by building communities, and that includes making them as safe as possible,”; said U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii.

The grants, he said, will be administered by the Department of Justice through the COPS Hiring Recovery Program.

Honolulu's is the only police department in the state to have received any federal stimulus money so far. The funds will cover three years' wages and benefits, but under the program the department must retain and pay for the positions for a fourth year.

;[Preview]    HPD Receives Multimillion-Dollar Grant

The Honolulu Police Department is receiving $5 million to put new officers on the street.

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Kauai and the Big Island sought funding, but neither will receive any. Maui applied, but has not received any indication it has been awarded or denied funding.

The Honolulu Police Department had requested funding for 150 positions. But given that 50 was the maximum number of positions funded for any agency, Correa said he was pleased with 21.

Many large cities like Seattle, Pittsburgh and New York received nothing, he noted.

The Police Department did ask the city in June for authorization for about 50 officers, for which it is awaiting approval. HPD has 50 vacancies.

Correa said the Police Department will have about 275 officers eligible for retirement this year, but was not concerned with a possible shortage of officers.