Thousands of police officers statewide will receive 5% raises per year over the next three years under a new contract forged during arbitration proceedings between the police union and state and local governments.

The announced raises end an impasse that had persisted since early 2021, as Hawaii’s county governments resisted requests from the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers for pay raises and other benefits in a collective bargaining agreement that runs from June 30, 2021 to June 30, 2025.

SHOPO represents more than 2,700 officers statewide, including about 1,900 on Oahu, 433 on the Big Island, about 300 on Maui and 150 on Kauai. The arbitration order secures raises for them during a time when the highest inflation rate in decades is eroding wage gains by employees across the board.

SHOPO hosts Kalihi neighborhood cleanup.
SHOPO released it’s new contract on Tuesday. It includes pay raises, bonuses and salary adjustments for county police officers over the next three years. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

Although the current police union contract was set to expire June 30, 2021, SHOPO and the counties agreed to extend the collective bargaining agreement beyond the expiration date while the two sides tried to work something out through arbitration. The issues finally were resolved in the arbitration order issued Tuesday.

According to the order, SHOPO had sought several items, including increased allowances for uniforms and vehicle subsidies, plus 6% per year pay increases effective July 1, 2021. The counties wanted things to stay the same.

In the end, the arbitration panel found unreasonable the union’s requested increase in uniform allowances to $400 from $300 annually and determined the automobile allowance would remain unchanged.

The win for the officers came from the pay increases. While the panel said the union’s requested 6% raises for four years was excessive, it said 5% per year starting July 2022, with a lump sum bonus in 2024, was “both reasonable and appropriate.”

According to the Honolulu Price Department, before the raises the base salary for officers with two to three years experience was $5,687 per month; $5,923 per month for officers with four to six years experience; and $6,152 per month, for officers who have worked seven to nine years.

​After accruing credible years of service, officers receive automatic step increases.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s spokesman Ian Scheuring said the raises are already in the city’s budget and that the mayor views them as an investment in public safety and the police department.

“This is putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to public safety and family safety,” Blangiardi said in a statement.

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