Friday, Dec. 08, 2023 |
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The Hawaii Police Department is seeking committed men and women to protect and serve the Big Island.
”It’s a very rewarding career,” Chief Paul Ferreira said Tuesday. “If you want to make a difference, you want to contribute to the community, this is one way of doing it.”
Starting pay is $65,652 a year. Benefits include paid holidays, vacation, sick leave, military leave, health insurance, group life insurance, uniforms and equipment stipend, automobile subsidy and retirement for those who qualify.
“Recruits draw full pay, full benefits — sick leave, vacation, everything,” Ferreira said. And once a recruit graduates from the department’s training academy and starts in patrol, a taxpayer-subsidized vehicle is included, as well.
Ferreira said the force currently has 444 officers, while the county authorizes the department to carry 483 officers.
“We’re down 39 with vacant positions, but we have two recruit classes going on right now, the 94th and the 95th,” Ferreira said. “One recruit class is in the field right now, riding along with veteran officers. They hit the streets solo on April 21. The other recruit class is in the academic phase, and they don’t come out and go solo until somewhere in the fall.”
Candidates must be at least 20 years old when applying, 21 when graduating from the academy, and be in good health and physical condition with good eyesight. They must also be a high school graduate or have a GED equivalent, possess a valid driver’s license, be legally qualified to carry and possess firearms, with no convictions for misdemeanor or felony domestic violence.
Ferreira said the novel coronavirus pandemic is a factor that has kept the department from recruiting and retaining a full complement of officers.
“If you look around the state — and, in fact, the nation — there is a limited workforce,” he said. “Everybody’s looking for employees. When you see McDonald’s, Zippy’s, all these other businesses offering bonuses just to sign on for hire, you know there’s a limited workforce out there.”
According to Ferreira, another challenge is there are four county police departments in Hawaii “vying for the same pool of candidates.”
The chief also acknowledged national media coverage of officers facing misconduct charges for shooting unarmed civilians or the deaths of suspects in custody, such as George Floyd, hampers recruitment efforts, as well.
“Some people are going to look at it and go, ‘Do I really want to do this? Do I really want to be out there and take on that responsibility?’ It’s got to play on people’s minds,” Ferreira said “Fortunately for us, you don’t see the antagonism against police here that you see in some mainland states.”
Ferreira said it takes a great deal of discipline and commitment to be a police officer — more than is needed for most occupations.
“We tell the recruits on the very onset, and I say it to them personally, ‘This job is a career. It’s a lifestyle; it’s a change in your lifestyle. It’s not intended for everyone,’” he said. “Not everyone is cut out to be a police officer. And there is no shame or disgrace if you say, ‘It’s not for me.’
“But if you want to take a chance on it, this is a way you can make a difference in the community.”
To apply, visit the County of Hawaii Job Opportunities web page and create an account. For more information, visit the Hawaii Police Department’s Police Officer Recruitment page at www.hawaiipolice.com.
The current recruitment period ends at 11:59 p.m. March 1.
Email John Burnett at email@example.com.
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