KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii — Officials are expecting more than 20 vacancies with the Hawaii Police Department by year’s end due to retiring officers.

Officials addressed the Hawaii County Police Commission on Friday, saying that in the next month there would be close to 20 retirees, including eight ranking officers, West Hawaii Today reported .

Officials in September said more than 55 officers had enough time on the force where they could retire.

Assistant Chief Marshall Kanehailua said the number of retirements is unusual and the department will have to recover from them.

“We’re going to lose some really, really good officers,” he said.

Kanehailua attributed the retirements to large recruitment classes 25 years.

Maj. Samuel Thomas projected there will be 21-23 vacancies near the end of 2017.

“We’ve seen this cycle happen many a time,” said Thomas, who has been with the department for 35 years. “When the economy is real poor, then we’ll get a lot of applicants. … At one point we had 100 vacancies for sworn officers. We only caught up when the economy went bad.”

The department is working to fill the current vacancies by focusing on recruitment and the upcoming 87th class.

“We are feverishly working on another background check,” Thomas said.

Applicants for the upcoming recruitment class have already gone through written and agility tests. They now face a background check, which Thomas said is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 1.

The past two recruitment classes only graduated a handful of recruits. The 85th class started with 14 and now has four officers remaining.

The 86th class started with 17 and has 12 left.

Information from: West Hawaii Today, http://www.westhawaiitoday.com

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.