Honolulu police halt virus units after alleged OT abuse

HONOLULU — The Honolulu Police Department said it would cancel special coronavirus enforcement units after allegations of overtime abuse from its officers.

Department leaders were told that 59 officers on the coronavirus enforcement team had been flagged in an audit for overtime violations, according to an internal memo from Nov. 10. The memo said that officers worked a substantial amount of hours “in excess of explicit instructions,” Hawaii News Now reported Friday.

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The enforcement of coronavirus violations will now be made by on-duty patrol officers.

At least 10 officers logged 200 or more hours of overtime over a five-week period. Records show that two officers recorded more than 300 hours of overtime from Sept. 27 to Oct. 31 — or about 60 hours of overtime each week.

Eight officers said they worked between 200 and 256 hours of overtime during the five-week span. Another 49 officers logged between 130 and 198 hours of overtime.

The memo said that officers are limited to 20 hours of overtime a week.

City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi said working the amount of hours some officers submitted does not seem unrealistic.

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“I mean how much can a person work after working their regular shift,” she said. “People get tired. Physically and mentally. And that’s when mistakes can be done.”

The unit’s responsibilities included checking in on quarantine violators and citing people for not wearing masks. The officers also responded to 911 complaints for potential coronavirus violations.

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