Hawaii – Worst Place in America to be a Cop

Hawaii Police Car

By: T. Jeffersonian

A recent WalletHub Survey reports that Hawaii is the worst place in America to be a police officer.  In order to determine the best and worst states for police officers, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across three key dimensions: 1) Opportunity & Competition, 2) Law Enforcement Training Requirements and 3) Job Hazards & Protections.  The three dimensions were further evaluated using 30 separate metrics.  The dimensions and metrics are as follows:

Opportunity & Competition – Total Points: 33.33

  • Law-Enforcement Officers per Capita: Double Weight (~7.41 Points)
  • Average Starting Salary of Police Officers: Double Weight (~7.41 Points)
  • Median Income for Law-Enforcement Officers: Full Weight (~3.70 Points)
  • Median Income Growth for Law-Enforcement Officers: Double Weight (~7.41 Points)
  • Salary Growth Potential of Law-Enforcement Officers: Full Weight (~3.70 Points)
  • Projected Law-Enforcement Officers per Capita by 2028: Full Weight (~3.70 Points)

Law Enforcement Training Requirements – Total Points: 33.33

  • Police Officer Hours Training Required: Double Weight (~8.89 Points)
  • States Allowing Police Work Before Basic Training: Full Weight (~4.44 Points)
  • Police Officer Continued Professional Education Hours Required: Full Weight (~4.44 Points)
  • Police Officer Education Requirements: Half Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • States with Laws Requiring Officers to Be Trained to Respond to Mental Health, Substance Use and Behavioral Disorder Issues: Full Weight (~4.44 Points)
  • Requirement of De-escalation Training: Double Weight (~8.89 Points)

Job Hazards & Protections – Total Points: 33.33

  • Police-Misconduct Confidentiality Law: Full Weight (~1.52 Points)
  • Police Body-Worn Camera Legislation: Full Weight (~1.52 Points)
  • Investigation/Prosecution on Use of Force by Police Officers: Full Weight (~1.52 Points)
  • Police Officer Decertification Requirements: Full Weight (~1.52 Points)
  • Share of Law Enforcement Departments Carrying Naloxone: Half Weight (~0.76 Points)
  • Degree of Lethal Force Allowed for Police Use: Half Weight (~0.76 Points)
  • Presence of “Red Flag” Laws: Full Weight (~1.52 Points)
  • Presence of “Blue Alerts”: Full Weight (~1.52 Points)
  • Police Deaths per 1,000 Officers: Double Weight (~3.03 Points)
  • Persons Killed by Police per Capita: Double Weight (~3.03 Points)
  • Share of Law Enforcement Officers Assaulted: Double Weight (~3.03 Points)
  • Pursuit-Related Fatalities per 100,000 Residents: Full Weight (~1.52 Points)
  • Violent-Crime Rate: Full Weight (~1.52 Points)
  • Property-Crime Rate: Full Weight (~1.52 Points)
  • Road Safety: Half Weight (~0.76 Points)
  • Share of Homicide Cases Solved: Triple Weight (~4.55 Points)
  • 9-1-1 Calls Delivered to Local & Regional Answering Points per Capita: Double Weight (~3.03 Points)
  • State & Local Police-Protection Expenses per Capita: Half Weight (~0.76 Points)

Hawaii scored 28.61 ranking 28th in Opportunity and Competition; 37th in Law Enforcement Training Requirements; and 18th in Job Hazards and Protections.  The study found that officers are more likely to be attracted to police departments that steer clear of scandal and corruption and that are transparent with their communities.  Of course, Hawaii has had its recent share of police department scandals and recently had two officer related fatalities.  A SecuringHome.com report on April 4, 2021 ranked Hawaii as the 44th most dangerous state to live.  The state is also perennially short of revenue, dependent on federal spending and tourism related taxes.  Police department readiness and training is not impervious to revenue losses.  Finally, Hawaii is the most expensive state to live.  Cops here do not get paid well enough to live without worries associated with making ends meet. With Defund the Police movements persisting predominantly in Democrat run states, Hawaii police officers are looking over their shoulders as often as they are looking for trouble in front of them.  The scandals plus all these factors makes its extremely difficult to be a police officer in Hawaii.