(AP) — The reassignment of Honolulu police union leaders was part of department-wide shuffling to put more officers on the streets, according to the police chief.

Police Chief Susan Ballard testified before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board on Friday after the police union filed a complaint last month, claiming the she violated the city’s collective bargaining agreement.

The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers claimed that union President Tenari Maafala and other union officials were targeted and given less desirable assignments.

Police Chief Susan Ballard Police said the reassignments were part of a department-wide reshuffling. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The city’s collective bargaining agreement states the department cannot arbitrarily reassign a union official without proper cause, according to the union.

Sgt. Maafala was previously assigned a unit that provides peer support and counseling for officers, their families and civilian staff members experiencing trauma and grief. He was reassigned to overnight patrol of the Waikiki area.

Ballard told the board that the reassignments were not in retaliation against the union, but were part of the effort to address a rise in crime. The police chief said that Maafala did not request a different assignment.

In his testimony to the board Friday, Maafala said the reassignments caused fear within the union’s membership. Upon questioning, he also noted that he did not request a transfer after his reassignment.Maafala also claimed that Ballard, during a news interview with Civil Beat, violated policy by inferring he abused overtime.Earlier this month, Maafala announced that he would be retiring from the department in April.The hearings are scheduled to continue next week. The city has filed a motion to dismiss the complaint.

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