Law Enforcement Careers in Hawaii

Law enforcement jurisdictions in Hawaii are divided up based on county lines, which roughly correspond to the main islands. This means there are no city police departments here like you’d find in other states. However, the county level police agencies often have a division headquarters in major population centers, which effectively serve as a city’s police force.

Sponsored Content

The major police departments in Hawaii and the areas they serve are:

  • Hawaii Police Department: Hilo, Kailua Kona, Kalaoa
  • Maui Police Department: Kahului
  • Kauai Police Department: Kapaa, Lihue
  • Honolulu Police Department: Honolulu, Kaneohe, Mililani, Waipahu

Narcotics Enforcement Division

Under the control of the Hawaii Department of Public Safety, the law enforcement professionals of the Narcotics Enforcement Division enforce laws relating to both street drugs and pharmaceutical controlled substances. This means that in addition to being involved in the fight to keep communities free of illicit drugs, they also are responsible for overseeing the distribution, manufacture, and dispensation of prescription drugs that have the potential for abuse. In the midst of the national prescription opioid epidemic, this role has been more important in recent years than ever before in the state’s history.

Sheriff’s Department in Hawaii

Also organized under the Hawaii Department of Public Safety, the Sheriff Division carries out law enforcement services statewide. The role of this department also includes:

  • Protecting persons and property under the control or employ of the State Judiciary
  • Providing secure transportation for people in custody
  • Processing services and handling of detained persons

Unlike most sheriff’s departments, the Hawaii Sheriff’s Department provides these services throughout the state, rather than on a county-by-county basis.

Hawaii is unique in that it is the only state in the U.S. to not have an officially named statewide law enforcement agency. This is due to the non-contiguous nature of the state, which is made up of several islands. Instead, the individual county police departments fulfill this role for their island jurisdiction.

County Law Enforcement Departments in Hawaii

Law enforcement services are provided by four, main county police departments, each encompassing a different Hawaiian Island. These county police departments assume the roles of what other states would delegate to the highway patrol, county sheriff’s office, and municipal police departments.

Sponsored Content

Hawaii’s four main police departments are:

Hawaii Police Department

The Hawaii Police Department is home to a number of specialized units, including the Criminal Intelligence Unit, the Traffic Services Section, the Special Response Team, and the Operations Bureau, which consists of investigative and patrol operations.

Officer candidates with the HPD must hold a high school diploma/GED and must be at least 20 years old.

Maui Police Department

The Maui Police Department’s Uniformed Patrol Division consists of six divisions. The MPD accepts applications year-round and offers competitive salaries.

Kauai Police Department

The Kauai Police Department is organized into three districts in which 66 officers are employed. The KPD requires applicants to be at least 20 years old and to hold a high school diploma/GED and valid driver’s license.

Honolulu Police Department

Originally created as Oahu County, Honolulu is now a consolidated city-county government with additional powers granted from a modified government structure. It is the 20thlargest police department in the nation, with about 1,900 sworn officers. Applicants here must be at least 20 years old and must hold a high school diploma or GED.

Hawaii Law Enforcement Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), law enforcement officers in Hawaii earn an average salary of $80,050.

The following police/sheriff’s department salary data was sourced from May 2021 BLS stats (early career = 25th percentile, senior/late career = 90th percentile).

Sponsored Content

Looking only at the four largest county police departments, the average annual salary is $75,000, although SOCD (Standards of Conduct differential) pay often brings this annual average up considerably.

Hawaii Police Department

Police officers with the Hawaii Police Department earn a starting salary of about $68,520 after academy training and graduation. Senior-level officers here earn about $99,580.

Honolulu Police Department

Metropolitan police officers for the Honolulu Police Department earn about $78,540 in their first years on the job. Metropolitan police officers can earn as much as $99,580 (not including the SOCD).

Maui Police Department

The starting salary for police officers (Police Officer I) with the Maui Police Department is about $78,540.

Kauai Police Department

Kauai police officers earn a starting salary of about $78,540.

2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures for police and sheriff’s patrol officers. Job growth projections from the US Department of Labor-sponsored resource, Projections Central. Figures are based on state data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed August 2022

Back to Top