Fallen Officers Honored for National Police Week
Hawaiʻi’s law enforcement officers from city, county, state, military and federal agencies who died while protecting and serving the people of Hawaiʻi are being honored this week.
On Sunday, the Hawaiʻi Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation held its second annual dedication and memorial service event, in conjunction with this year’s Police Week observance–a time to honor and remember law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, as well as those who continue to protect and serve the community.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating the week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week. In 2017, National Police Week runs from May 14-20, 2017.
“The Hawaiʻi Law Enforcement Foundation was created to ensure that people who paid the ultimate sacrifice – their lives – to protect us, will always be remembered,” said Thomas Aiu, the foundation’s executive director. “This upcoming event is a time for our community to reflect and thank those who made sure we keep living safely here in Hawaii.”
The Hawaiʻi Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation Annual Dedication and Memorial Service was held at the Hawaiʻi Law Enforcement Memorial in downtown Honolulu’s Capitol District. Elected officials, dignitaries, police officers and the community attended the memorial. Last year, more than 300 people paid their respects to Hawaiʻi’s fallen officers at the event.
Other Police Week events include a Police Week Procession and Police Week Memorial March on Monday, May 15 – both of which are organized by the Honolulu Police Department. Here on Maui, the Maui Police Department hosts a Police Week remembrance event today at the Wailuku Police Station.
The Maui service honors five officers and US National Park Ranger killed in the line of duty in Maui County.
The five officers honored included: Officer Harry Fung (Nov. 19, 1941), Officer Frank A.F. Kong (July 11, 1952), Sergeant William F. Roback Sr. (April 13, 1958), Officer Gene V. Williams (Aug. 9, 1999) and Officer Cerilo Agarano Jr. (Nov. 9, 1999). The US National Park Ranger honored was Park Ranger Suzanne Roberts (Sept. 14, 2004).
On average, a law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the United States every 63 hours. Since the first known line-of-duty death in 1791, over 20,000 law enforcement officers have made the ultimate sacrifice.
During Sunday’s event, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) joined in remembering Hawaiʻi’s 65 officers who died in the line of duty. In her remarks, Rep. Gabbard honored current, former, and fallen law enforcement officers, and paid special tribute to their families.
“This memorial here and this opportunity we have today reminds us of the thin blue line—that symbol which represents the important relationship between law enforcement and our community as the protectors of fellow civilians from those who seek to harm them,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “It symbolizes that great trust and responsibility that exists within those who carry the badge. It reminds us of those who are called to put their lives on the line to serve and protect and those who have sacrificed all.”
All of Hawaii’s police chiefs were in attendance, as well as Hawaiʻi Governor David Ige, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, and Acting United States Attorney Elliot Enoki.
The Hawaiʻi Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation was formed in February 2010 to design, construct, and maintain a monument to honor law enforcement officers from city, county, state, military, and federal agencies who have died in the line of duty while serving the people of Hawaiʻi.