KAILUA-KONA — For the first time in 20 years, the Hawaii Police Department lit a new candle for a fallen brother who gave his life in the line of duty during this year’s National Police Week ceremonies.
Hawaii Police Chaplain Spencer Baker told Tuesday’s gathering at the Kona Police Station that “we give pause” for those lost and honor those still serving. On July 18, 2018, Officer Bronson Kaimana Kaliloa was shot and killed after encountering a fugitive during a traffic stop in Mountain View.
“His death demonstrated the greatest love — he gave the ultimate sacrifice,” Baker said. “While his life was taken from us, his legacy is what should be remembered.”
Candles were also lit for four other Hawaii Police officers killed in the line of duty: Officer Manuel Cadinha, who died in 1918; Officer William “Red” Oili, who died in 1936; Officer Ronald “Shige” Jitchaku, who died in 1990; and Officer Kenneth Keliipio, who died in 1997.
Park Service Ranger Steve Makuakane-Jarrell, who was shot to death while on duty at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park in 1999, was also honored.
Officer Reuben Pukahi explained to the crowd the law signed by President John F. Kennedy on Oct. 1, 1962, designated May 15 as Peace Officers’ Memorial Day. The day honors officers who have died or became disabled while performing their duties. About 20,000 officers nationwide have died in the line of duty.
Police Chief Paul Ferreira said a delegation is currently in Washington, D.C., representing the department as Officer Kaliloa will be the 57th name added to the list of fallen officers for the State of Hawaii on the marble walls of the National Law Enforcement Memorial.
Kaliloa’s name has also been added to the department’s memorial wall, Ka Malu Aloha, at the Hilo police station.
“It is my hope by the grace of God that we never etch another name on that wall,” Ferreira said.
Ferreira said the men and women of Hawaii Police Department are second to none.
“They are tasked daily to make split-second decisions,” he said. “They put their lives on the line daily not knowing what the next call will bring or if the next traffic stop will be your ‘end of watch,’ like it was for Officer Kaliloa.”
Jarell’s widow lit a candle for her husband at the ceremony.
“It’s a time to remember the sacrifice he made, we’re honored each year,” said Joni Mae Makuakane-Jarrell. “It doesn’t matter that this is our 20th year.”
Makuakane-Jarrell said her husband loved his job, protecting critical species and the land. But most of all, he loved the lord.
“I know Maj. Jarrell wasn’t a police officer, but he still should be honored as he was serving and protecting the community,” Ferreira said.
After the ceremony, the chief reflected on the loss of Kaliloa.
“It’s the hardest thing I had to do in my career — to face his parents and his wife and tell them he’s not coming home,” he said.
This is the first time in the history of the Big Island that an officer was targeted, shot and killed.
“It has been a huge impact on us,” he said. “It’s ceremonies like this that ensure we don’t ever forget.”
At the direction of the president of the United States, Gov. David Ige has ordered that the United States flag and the Hawaii state flag will be flown at half-staff today at the State Capitol and upon all state offices and agencies as well as the Hawaii National Guard in the State of Hawaii until sunset. The action is for Peace Officers Memorial Day during Police Week.