To update my January report on discussions with HPD Chief Susan Ballard regarding complaints about illegal and disruptive behavior throughout Downtown-Chinatown, Chief Ballard has provided the following budget proposal for Project HELP:
- $617,484.39 (which includes one-time costs associated with establishment of an outreach center in Downtown/Chinatown) to increase the number of Community Policing Teams (CPT) officers who work directly with homeless outreach providers (e.g., Project HELP and LEAD) to encourage chronic homeless individuals to accept services and housing.
I encourage Neighborhood Board #13 to invite Asst. Chief Nagata and Lt. Lambert to explain the operations of the Project HELP program to your members and to Downtown/Chinatown neighbors and businesses during your April 2018 meeting. I believe that the activities planned for the outreach center will benefit the Downtown/Chinatown community.
- Increasing the number of officers patrolling Downtown-Chinatown: Asst. Chief Nagata reported that the department is expediting its recruitment/training classes so that the current vacancies (roughly 250+ officer positions) can be filled, and HPD is pursuing an increase in its mandatory minimum staffing from 60% to 75%. Many mainland cities of comparable size have reported that their police operations are staffed at 90-95% in comparison to Honolulu’s staffing configurations. The recent SHOPO contract approved in December 2017 provides competitive salary ranges to attract quality candidates to HPD.