For many years, there was an overwhelming need for representation of all workers in our state, regardless of whether they were employed in the private or public sector. Although representation was finally achieved for most workers, it took additional years for our police officers to be granted this privilege. In fact it was not until 1970 that the state legislature passed Act 171,which granted police officers and other public sector employees the right to organize. As a result of this legislation, the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers was founded in 1971. At that time, police officers looked at other organizations, but voted in July of 1972 to be represented by SHOPO, an independent, non-affiliated union for police officers only. We feel that time has proven this choice to be the best one.
We are proud of the fact that we have the only union in our state, which is truly democratic. The elected Boards of Directors run our organization. They are not just figureheads. It takes a great deal of time and work on the part of the individuals who serve on these Boards, ``Police Officers for Police Officers!`` is the only way. We are our own individuals and owe allegiance to no one else. If the membership is dissatisfied at any time, they can vote in a new board.
SHOPO is composed of four separate Chapters, Honolulu, Maui, Hawaii, and Kauai, each with its own Board of Directors elected by the membership of the respective chapters. Each board is presided over by a Chapter Chairman who is also a member of the State Board of Directors. In addition to these four persons, the State Board consists of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and three Directors at Large (eleven persons in all), who are elected by the entire statewide membership. The board members do not receive remuneration. Each chapter is autonomous and has its own Constitution and By-Laws. SHOPO is a non-profit corporation and the Charter of Incorporation supersedes the Chapter Constitutions and By-Laws in case of a conflict.