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Chief Susan Ballard says HPD still investigating COVID overtime violations

The Honolulu Police Department is continuing its investigation into apparent overtime violations within the department’s COVID-19 enforcement teams, according to Police Chief Susan Ballard.

So far, four police officers have been removed from duty and dozens of others are under investigation for reporting excessive overtime.

Ballard told the Honolulu Police Commission today she would not be providing members any further information at this point and assured the panel that a public report would be issued when the investigation is complete.

“We still have the four officers who have had their police powers removed and then we also have not completed the other policy violations yet either, so I really can’t comment on anything until the investigation is completed,” Ballard said.

An internal HPD memo in November revealed “multiple violations” of the department’s overtime policies. The audit found that 59 police officers reported working more than 130 hours in overtime from late September through October, including two officers who said they worked more than 300 hours in overtime.

The memo noted that officers were not allowed to work more than 100 hours in overtime during the five-week period, or 20 hours per week.

In the wake of the audit, HPD suspended use of the special COVID enforcement teams, which were established in early August by Ballard as Hawaii was experiencing a surge in new coronavirus cases. Money from the federal CARES Act stimulus package had been funding the overtime salaries for the officers who volunteered to serve on the teams to enforce city and state rules implemented to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

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