Members of the Hawaiʻi Police Department and the public celebrated Police Week on Monday (May 13) at the Hilo police station. A 21-gun salute, “Taps” and a candle-lighting ceremony were 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).
During the ceremony, Mayor Billy Kenoi said he is proud of the men and women serving in the Hawaiʻi Police Department. “We have, if not the finest, one of the finest departments in the entire country,” he said.
Kenoi added he is grateful that Cadinha, Oili, Jitchaku and Keliipio are the only officers we have had to honor for losing their lives.
Chief Harry S. Kubojiri noted that the law enforcement memorial in Washington, D.C., names 19,981 officers nationwide who have been killed in the line of duty since 1792. “Of these names,” he said, “54 are from the State of Hawaiʻi.”
Chief Kubojiri also acknowledged Officer Joshua Gouveia, who attended the ceremony, and Officer Garrett Hatada. The two officers were shot January 2 while responding to a report of gunshots in Hilo.
“Thankfully, although both officers received gunshot wounds to their lower extremities, they survived the encounter and are currently recovering,” Kubojiri said. He asked the audience to pray for their speedy recovery.
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. In honor of National Peace Officer Memorial Day this year, President Barack Obama has ordered all U.S. Flags to be flown at half-staff on Wednesday (May 15).
Another Police Week ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday (May 14) at the Kona police station. The public is invited to attend.