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Honolulu Police Department’s COVID-19 violator hotline cools off

The Honolulu Police Department’s COVID-19 hotline was hot when it first opened, but has cooled a bit lately.

“When the hotline phone was first opened, there were about 150 calls daily to report violations and an additional 250 calls for non-HPD complaints and requests for information,” said HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu.

Police were also receiving roughly 20 emails daily with working information.

At a news conference held Aug. 6, Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard urged the public to report violators of the mayor and governor’s emergency proclamation orders, which re-instituted the shutting down of beaches and parks. The hotline was opened on Aug. 9.

A week later, calls reporting violations remained the same, email numbers were steady, but non-HPD calls went down.

“As of today, the hotline is averaging about 100 phone calls and less than 10 emails daily,” Yu said Thursday.

That’s a 33% decrease in calls and more than a 50% drop in emails.

The chief said officers likely will issue citations or arrests, but “very few warnings.”

Examples of nonviolation, or what Yu called non-HPD complaints, include medical inquiries.

For these, the officers suggest that the callers contact their personal physicians. Questions about testing and city services are referred to oneoahu.org.

HPD also created a special COVID enforcement team, with 160 members, funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

That team would be dedicated to enforcing the emergency proclamation orders seven days a week. But all patrol officers are expected to respond to such calls if available.

The hotline is 723-3900. Emails may be sent to hpdcovidenforce@honolulu.gov

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