In May, 11 police officers from San Jose came to Oahu on an 11-day trip to find new recruits to take back with them to the mainland.

The total cost for the trip was about $43,000, according to the news site San Jose Inside. But the junket didn’t net many recruits.

HPD held a training demo in January in an attempt to find new recruits.

HPD held a training demo in January in an attempt to find new recruits.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Here’s how San Jose Inside described the visit:

SJPD had interviews scheduled with 89 people: three were disqualified ahead of time, seven withdrew and 29 “washed out,” failing to show up for their interviews. The remaining applicants completed at least one part of the hiring process.

But as of this week—the same week San Jose invoked an “emergency” declaration to sidestep labor restrictions to backfill police patrol assignments—the trip to Hawaii has resulted in just one recruit going through the background check process for October’s academy.

Five others have tentatively signed on for next year’s three academies, but they too must pass a rigorous background check that results in less than 1 percent of applicants making the cut.

While the trip wasn’t successful it serves as a reminder of the Honolulu Police Department’s own struggles to recruit and retain officers.

For many years, HPD watched as numerous officers left the islands for better job prospects on the mainland.

An August 2007 city audit even found that HPD had lost 113 officers to other law enforcement agencies in less than 10 years.

That figure today would account for nearly five percent of the entire force.

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