By Christie Wilson
Neighbor Island Editor
WAILUKU, Maui With 22 recruits now in training, the Maui Police Department has reduced its police officer vacancies to 32.
In November, the department reported 45 openings out of 334 budgeted positions.
The department has been dealing with a chronic shortage of officers over the past several years that has been attributed to a tight job market and stringent screening procedures that make it difficult to hire enough qualified candidates to replace officers who have retired or left for other jobs.
The Maui Police Department hired 18 men and four women for the recruit cycle that started late last month, but the net personnel gain was affected by recent retirements, including three in December, said Lt. Jon Morioka.
Additional retirements are expected in the coming months. Morioka said the department hopes to further whittle away at its vacancy total by launching another recruit class this summer.
In November, Morioka and others from the Maui police force conducted a recruitment campaign on the Big Island, with lukewarm results. Morioka said a little more than 20 applications were distributed at events in Kona and Hilo.
Because the applications are forwarded to government personnel offices for screening and testing, he does not know how many Big Islanders actually applied with the Maui Police Department.
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