The U.S. Justice Department has awarded funding for six additional police officers for Hawaii County, Mayor Billy Kenoi announced Wednesday.
The Justice Department Office of Community Oriented Policy Services awarded $1,392.336 to cover the six officers’ salaries and benefits for three years.
Kenoi said the county will add officers and increase patrols in Puna and other rural districts “where the populations have been growing, and where the demand for police services has grown.”
Police Chief Harry Kubojiri said the funding will be used to hire, train and field the officers for rural areas with the largest increases in service calls.
“Especially in these difficult economic times, this grant represents an important boost for public safety,” he said.
Hawaii County has 432 authorized sworn officer positions, including eight vacant positions.