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Lee is West Hawaii’s Officer of the Year


Kalae Lee

Kalae Lee

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee recognized Officer Kalae Lee as “Officer of the Year” in a luncheon ceremony Friday (September 12) at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel in Kailua-Kona.

Lee was honored for his successful investigation of a methamphetamine dealer.

In July 2013, Lee received tip that a man was distributing large quantities of “ice” in North Kohala. He conducted a month-long investigation with assistance from North Kohala Community Policing officers. The investigation led to the identity of a suspect and confirmed the reports of meth distribution.

Officer Lee drafted and obtained search warrants for a Kapaʻau home, where police recovered 4 1/2 ounces of crystal meth hours before it was to be distributed into the small community of North Kohala. The drugs had an estimated street value of $14,750. At the scene, police arrested two people. A 46-year-old man was arrested and later charged with first-degree meth trafficking and drug paraphernalia. A 28-year-old woman was arrested and later charged with promoting a dangerous drug and drug paraphernalia.

Detective Edwin Buyten recommended Lee for the award and commended him for his investigative skills. “Officers later learned the community was extremely pleased with the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s effort to disrupt the flow of narcotics within their community and protect their children from dangerous and harmful drugs,” Buyten wrote in nomination papers.

Lee was named “Officer of the Month” in December 2013 for the same incident.

Also honored at Friday’s ceremony were the other “Officer of the Month” recipients over the past year: Officer Justin Gaspar, Officer Brandon Mansur, Officer Caroldeen “Nalani” Freitas, Officer Stephen Kishimoto, Officer Nicholas McDaniel, Officer Marlin Hopson, Officer Mario Ochoa, Officer Sheldon Nakamoto, Officer Jerome Duarte and Officer Jason Foxworthy.

“I’m humbled by the group of officers up here,” Lee said when accepting his award.

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee is an organization that encourages community involvement in aiding and supporting police in West Hawaiʻi.

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