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Police honor fallen comrades in Hilo, Kona ceremonies; flags at half-staff Saturday

Law enforcement officers line up outside the Kona station. (Hawaii 24/7 photo courtesy of Brad Ballesteros)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Contributing Editor

Ceremonies Monday in Hilo and Tuesday in Kona marked Police Week and honored the four Big Island officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.

In Hilo, Mayor Billy Kenoi read a proclamation declaring May 9-15 as Police Week and praised Chief Harry Kubojiri and all the county law enforcement officers.

“Not a day goes by that I’m not proud to serve with all of them,” Kenoi said.

Kubojiri noted his appreciation for the officers who put their lives on the line to serve the public.

“Police officers face the possibility of death or injury every time they report for duty,” Kubojiri said. “In law enforcement, that threat is all part of a day’s work.”

In Hilo and in Kona, candles were lit in honor of the four officers who have been killed in the line of duty since 1918 — Manuel Cadinha (1918), William “Red” Oili (1936), Ronald “Shige” Jitchaku (1990), and Kenneth Keliipio (1997).

Police Week is a nationally recognized week of activities in support of police work and in recognition of officers who have died or been disabled in the line of duty. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week it falls in as Police Week.

The first official memorial service was May 15, 1982. On that date, approximately 125 people gathered in Washington, D.C. to honor 91 law enforcement officers. At this year’s national ceremony, more than 120 law enforcement officers will be honored.

Since the first known line-of-duty death in 1792, nearly 19,000 U.S. police officers have been killed, including 116 in 2009. On average, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the nation every 53 hours.

— Find out more:
Police Week: www.policeweek.org
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund: www.nleomf.com

The fallen officers. (Hawaii 24/7 photo courtesy of Brad Ballesteros)

Taps by Harold Samaoang at Tuesday's ceremony in Kona. (Hawaii 24/7 photo courtesy of Brad Ballesteros)

Flags to fly at half-staff Saturday

In honor of Hawaii’s law enforcement officers who lost their lives protecting the people of Hawaii, Gov. Linda Lingle has ordered state flags at state and county buildings to be flown at half-staff Saturday, May 15, 2010, which will be observed as “Peace Officers Memorial Day” in Hawaii and across the nation.

The Governor’s order is in accordance with flag protocol which calls for U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day to honor our nation’s law enforcement officers.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women who serve in law enforcement and put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities and keep our state and nation safe,” Lingle said. “Police officers are among our first responders who are committed to watching over our communities and ensuring the safety and well being of others. They are exemplary role models of courage, honor and selfless service.”

“On Peace Officers Memorial Day, we honor the men and women of our law enforcement community who put their lives in harm’s way to protect and ensure the safety of our residents and families,” said Lt. Gov. James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr. “Nothing can ever repay the debt that we owe to those fallen heroes who gave their lives while protecting ours.”

Lingle and Aiona also declared May 9-15, 2010, as “Police Week” in Hawaii in conjunction with National Police Week.

Proclamation

More than 800,000 courageous men and women throughout the United States have dedicated their lives to protecting our families, homes and neighborhoods from crime. These peace officers bravely accept great risks every day as they answer the call of public service, and their commitment and diligence are chiefly responsible for the safety our communities enjoy day-in and day-out.

Hawaii’s peace officers continue to provide critical services to our state. They are at the front line of protecting our residents and visitors against violence and disorder; safeguarding life and property; shielding our homes, schools and neighborhoods from the harmful influence of drugs; ensuring safe and civil roadways; upholding the rule of law; and, defending our liberty.

Our state is especially indebted to the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives in the line of duty. These peace officers fulfilled their public oath, and we all benefit from their selflessness.

Each year since Congress passed a joint resolution in 1962, the President of the United States has designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day in order to honor the sacrifices made by all local, state and federal law enforcement personnel, especially those whose names are engraved and memorialized on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, located in Washington, D.C.

THEREFORE, I, LINDA LINGLE, Governor of the State of Hawaii, do hereby proclaim May 15, 2010, as PEACE OFFICERS MEMORIAL DAY in Hawaii, and do hereby order the lowering of the Hawaii state flag to half-staff on all state and county buildings in conjunction with the United States flag from sunrise to sunset, and encourage all our citizens to honor and thank our fine police officers.

DONE at the State Capitol, in the Executive Chambers, Honolulu, State of Hawaii, this eleventh day of May 2010.

Linda Lingle
Governor, State of Hawaii

(From the Governor’s Office: It has been brought to our attention that because Saturday, May 15 is both Peace Officers Memorial Day and Armed Forces Day, the U.S. flag should fly at full-staff, in accordance with U.S. Code (365 USC 175). The Governor’s proclamation applies only to the Hawaii state flag, which should be displayed at half-staff at state and county buildings in observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day.)

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