Honolulu police union defends pay differential
HONOLULU (AP) — The president of the union representing Hawaii’s police officers defended a pay differential increase that will bring the total price of a binding arbitration agreement to about $200 million.
Officers are given a standard of conduct differential for being expected to carry a firearm 24 hours a day. That differential will increase from $1 an hour to $4 an hour over four years as part of a new contract agreement issued this month. The agreement also gives officers a 16.8 percent raise over four years.
State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers President Tenari Maafala told city council budget committee members Wednesday the differential is provided because officers must confront danger even when they’re off-duty, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (http://ow.ly/n66XO ).
In response to questions from Councilman Ron Menor, who said he’s fielded calls complaining about aspects of the package, Maafala shared a personal experience to highlight how officers are compelled to act at any moment.
Maafala recounted shooting and killing a man who was firing a gun in 1998. Maafala was off-duty and visiting his parents at Mayor Wright Homes.
Neighbors who knew Maafala was around went to him for help.
“So am I obligated to get out there? Of course I am,” he said. “Had I slept through it, the most scariest thing is people might have died.”
Menor said he was satisfied with Maafala’s response. The council committee voted unanimously to approve the resolution.
The city says the differential pay will add $43 million, bringing the contract package to about $200 million.