How to Become a Police Officer in Honolulu
Honolulu is the largest city in Hawaii.1 The Honolulu metro area that covers the island of Oahu is home to nearly one million year-round residents.1 In addition to residents, millions of people visit Oahu each year – five million in 2017 alone.1,2 Despite the number of people it hosts, Honolulu has a lower-than-average violent crime rate and a property crime rate that is close to the national average.3 These statistics are thanks in large part to the men and women of the Honolulu Police Department (HPD). The HPD employs 1,889 sworn officers and 474 civilian personnel.2 Read below to learn more about what it takes to become one of Honolulu’s finest.
Honolulu Police Officer Requirements
The Honolulu Police Department uses a competitive process to ensure that only the best applicants are hired as prospective officers. To become a Honolulu police officer, you must:
- Be at least 21 years of age by police academy graduation
- Be a US citizen, US national, or legal permanent resident
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Possess a valid driver’s license
- Have 20/20 vision (corrected or uncorrected) with normal color and depth perception
- Meet the department’s hearing standards as well as other physical fitness guidelines
- Have no felony convictions or convictions for disqualifying misdemeanors
Applicants who meet these minimum qualifications will be invited to schedule themselves for the written entrance exam, which must be taken within two months of the department accepting the application. Those who advance will take a physical fitness test and complete a personal history statement for the background investigation. Those who pass these stages will be offered conditional employment pending the results of a psychological exam and medical evaluation. Finally, successful candidates will be appointed to an upcoming police academy class.
For more information about becoming a law enforcement officer in a city like Honolulu, check out 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page.
Ke Kula Maka’i, the Honolulu Police Academy
Honolulu police recruits are trained at Ke Kula Maka’i, the Honolulu police academy. Recruits learn about state and local laws, policies, and procedures; use of force and arrest tactics; physical fitness for law enforcement; and more. Recruits attend the academy for approximately six months. Following police academy training, graduated officers undergo field training and further evaluation before receiving their first post, which is usually foot patrol in Waikiki and downtown Honolulu.
Honolulu Police Department Information
The Honolulu Police Department’s official mission is “Serving and Protecting with Aloha.” The department provides law enforcement services to the entire island of Oahu, which encompasses an area of about 596 square miles.2 In 2018, the department’s call center answered 393,709 emergency and 503,026 nonemergency calls for service.2
Major divisions within the HPD, which is the 20th-largest police department in the US, include Specialized Services (such as SWAT and the Bomb Unit), Criminal Investigations, and Scientific Investigations (which includes forensics).2 The majority of new officers with the HPD are assigned to foot patrol in downtown Honolulu and the popular tourist area of Waikiki. After earning experience, officers can apply for transfer to specialized units or work in one of the other eight patrol districts designated by the HPD.
The Honolulu Police Department emphasizes positive relationships with community members. As part of its initiatives, it is rolling out body-worn cameras to all patrol officers, overseen by a specialized Video Management Unit to oversee video storage, equipment, and auditing. The department also hosts various community activities, outreach programs, and support programs throughout the year.
Department Contact Information
Salary, Benefits, and Jobs Outlook
During police academy training and across the first year of service, Honolulu police recruits earn a starting salary of $64,368 per year.2 Officers can earn increased pay through overtime, shift differentials, hazard pay, and other incentive programs. Officers also receive regular step increases in base pay. The HPD provides a generous retirement plan with an early retirement option at 55 with 25 years of service. The average salary for Honolulu area police officers is $75,270 per year.4
Police employment in Hawaii is expected to increase by 6.7% through 2026.5 Projections suggest that including replacements, there will be 200 police job openings per year during this time frame.5 Be aware that projections can change and hiring is largely dependent on municipal and state budgets. To see current police jobs in Hawaii and common requirements, check out our police jobs board.
Cities and Police Departments Near Honolulu
There are about 1,780 police and sheriff’s patrol officers in the Honolulu metropolitan area, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.4 While the HPD is the largest employer of police in Hawaii, there are other departments on the state’s less-populated islands that can provide applicants with rewarding careers. However, these departments do tend to be smaller and do not publish statistics as larger departments do. The below table offers an overview of police employment and crime in Honolulu.
|City||Force Name/Abbreviation||City Population6||Police Dept. Total Employees7||Sworn Officers7||Civilian Staff7||Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People8||Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People8|
|Honolulu||Honolulu Police Department (APD)||980,080||2,537||2,042||495||.34||3.1|
- Honolulu Police Relief Association – Provides support and resources to member officers and their families and organizes community engagement events.
1. Data USA, Honolulu, Hawaii: https://datausa.io/profile/geo/urban-honolulu-hi-metro-area
2. Honolulu Police Department: http://honolulupd.org/
3. Sperling’s Best Places, Honolulu, Hawaii: https://www.bestplaces.net/city/hawaii/honolulu
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Urban Honolulu, HI: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_46520.htm
5. Projections Central: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045218
7. Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports, Full-time Law Enforcement Employees by State by City: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-26/table-26.xls/view
8. Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports, Offenses Known to Law Enforcement by State by City: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-6/table-6.xls/view