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Police week honors fallen Hawaii Island officers


Candles burn fronting photos of fallen officers at the Police Memorial in Hilo

Candles burn fronting photos of fallen officers at the Police Memorial in Hilo

The Hawaiʻi Police Department celebrated National Police Week on Monday, (May 14), at an opening ceremony held at the Hilo police station.

The ceremony featured a 21-gun salute, “Taps” and a candle-lighting ceremony as part of the tribute to the four Hawaiʻi Police Department officers killed in the line of duty since 1918: Manuel Cadinha (1918), William “Red” Oili (1936), Ronald “Shige” Jitchaku (1990) and Kenneth Keliipio (1997). Tribute was also paid to National Park Ranger Steve Makuakane-Jarrell who was killed in the line of duty in 1999.

Steve Makuakane-Jarrell

During the ceremony, Managing Director Wil Okabe recognized the fallen officers and thanked the Police Department’s current officers for their service. He also gave special recognition to FBI Special Agent Edward Ignacio and Hawaiʻi Police Officer Justin Gaspar who began a 78-mile trek over Saddle Road early Saturday morning, (May 12), and at the Kona Police Station in what they dubbed “The Saddle Rattle.” The run/walk, which concluded at the Hilo Police Station on Monday morning, (May 14), was completed with Officer Gaspar wearing his full police uniform and Special Agent Ignacio wearing a tactical plate carrier vest. Their goal, to honor our fallen officers and to raise money for the Hawaiʻi Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation, was a success.

Chief Paul Ferreira personally thanked the men and women of the Hawaiʻi Police Department, “both past and present, both sworn and civilian” for their “dedication and perseverance in protecting the citizens of Hawaiʻi Island.”

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which it falls as Police Week. Another Police Week ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, (May 15), at the Kona police station. The public is invited to attend.

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