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Fallen law enforcement officers remembered 05-15-02

PHONE: 961-2244
MAY 15, 2002

Memorial Day Speakers
MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONIES-Three of the major speakers at the Peace Officers’ Memorial Day ceremonies listen intently to others. They are, from left, Police Commission Chairman Wilfred Okabe, Mayor Harry Kim and Police Chief James S. Correa.


The Hawaii County Police Department and friends took time out Wednesday (May 15, 2002) to honor the more than 14,000 U.S. law enforcement officers, including three from the Big Island, who have died in the line of duty.

The officers were remembered during the 40th annual Peace Officers Memorial Day ceremonies, held at the Hilo Police Headquarters.

“The importance of a police officer’s job has never been more apparent,” said Police Chief James S. Correa, one of the speakers.

Taking note of the events of September 11, 2001, when terrorists crashed two commercial airliners into the twin towers of the New York World Trade Center, Correa said he once heard a police officer say “the last line of defense between democracy and chaos is the police.”

“Again, the evidence of this statement is very apparent,” he said.

“Today, law enforcement is engaged in the largest criminal investigation ever conducted; military actions against terrorist strongholds are being taken; and new procedures and legislation are being enacted.”

“As police officers, it is important for us to serve as leaders in our community to stem off any fears caused by terrorism,” he said.

Correa thanked the officers under his command “for the invaluable service you provide.”

“Day to day, you make some incredible sacrifices,” he said. “At times, the public needs to understand that being a police officer is more than an occupation, but rather reflects the manner in which an officer is required to live.”

Mayor Harry Kim noted that police officers are frequently resented for “simply doing their job.”

When you see a police officer on the side of the road writing out a ticket for an errant motorist, Kim told the crowd, remember that the officer is doing so not to harass the motorist, but to serve and protect the public.

Wilfred Okabe, chairman of the Hawaii County Police Commission noted that the late President John F. Kennedy in 1962 proclaimed May 15 of each year as Peace Officers’ Memorial Day to honor the more than 14,000 law enforcement officers in the United States who have died in the line of duty.

“So today, it is fitting we meet here to honor three Hawaii County police officers who have died in the line of duty,” he said. “They are Officer Manuel Cadinha, who lost his life in 1918; Office Ronald ‘Shige’ Jitchaku, who was killed in 1990; and Officer Kenneth Keliipio, who died in 1997.”

Major Morton A. Carter, master of ceremony for the event, noted that 70 law enforcement officers died during the terrorist attacks of September 11.

“Like the officers who have died in the line of duty for Hawaii County, they will never be forgotten, for it is not how these officers died that makes them ‘heroes,’ it is how they lived.”

Other speakers at the ceremonies included former County Councilman Takashi Domingo, who represented County Council Chairman James Arakaki as special assistant to the Hawaii County Council.

Among those providing entertainment at the event were the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, “Keola Pono No Na Kupuna”; the Hilo High School Viking Band; the D.A.R.E. Cheerleaders; and Unis Nunu, a Pahoa High School student.

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