Police officers across the state can now bank on bringing home much more

Published On: Jul 06 2013 12:17:46 AM HST

Police officers across the state can now bank on bringing home much more. Honolulu Police s well as those on the Big Island and on Maui and Kauai counties will be getting raises.

HONOLULU -

Police officers across the state can now bank on bringing home much more. Honolulu police as well as those on the Big Island and in Maui and Kauai counties will be getting raises. The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers says it's been a long wait to get the arbitration award.

In total police officers will get a 16.8 percent pay increase over four years. There will be an increase every six months.Starting pay for officers is about $53,000. By June 30, 2017 that will increase by about $9,000.

The higher pay from the arbitration award has caught two county mayors off guard.  

"While we were surprised at the level of this award, we feel that the arbitration process needs to be respected," said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa.

Honolulu Mayor, Kirk Caldwell said, "...the wage increases set by the arbitration panel are far more than we anticipated ... "

The award also includes pay increases through so-called step movements on service anniversary dates. The head of the state's police union says the officers are worth the money.

"When your life is on the line, in the last two years you lost three officers in the line of duty let alone the fact that we have to make split-second decision to take a life and to save a life that's what we do, so it's well deserved," said Tenari Ma'afala, SHOPO president.

The union says it didn't agree with the employers' proposed two-year contract and 5 percent pay cut. The union believes this award will stop officers from wanting to relocate.

"We are definitely close to pay parity with respect to all west coast departments, and that was always our goal to help with recruiting and to stop the mass exodus of officers from Hawaii going to the mainland, or going to the federal law enforcement agencies," said Ma'afala.

The award is retroactive to this past Monday and runs through June 2017. The union represents about 2,900 officers statewide. Kauai County had no comment while Hawaii County did not respond.

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