12-06-23 Detective John Balberde Honored with Haweo Award for his Outstanding Investigative Efforts

Hawai’i Police Department
Office of the Police Chief                  
Chief Benjamin T. Moszkowicz
Phone: (808) 961-2244
Report No.: 23-011680

Media Release

In recognition of his outstanding investigative efforts and determination to make our communities safer, Hawai‘i Police Department Detective John Balberde was honored with the Haweo Award during a ceremony held at the Hawai‘i County Council chambers in Hilo, on Wednesday morning, December 6, 2023.

A 15-year veteran of the department, Detective Balberde is currently assigned as the supervisor of the Area I Criminal Investigation Division’s Crime Reduction Unit (CRU), in East Hawai‘i.

Detective Balberde was recognized for his overall body of work while leading the CRU, as well as for the steadfast determination and compassion he exhibited as the lead detective assigned to a heinous double-homicide in January 2023, in Hilo.

Detective Balberde’s supervisor, Captain Rio Amon-Wilkins, stated, “John volunteered to be the lead detective,” referring to the homicide on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. “Detective Balberde worked tirelessly over the next 48 hours, ensuring the investigation was complete and the suspect was charged.”

Captain Amon-Wilkins also noted that Detective Balberde is a dedicated officer with a passion for improving the community and holding violent offenders accountable. “His integrity is unquestionable.” Amon-Wilkins continued, “Detective Balberde leads by example, and he treats subordinates, co-workers, victims, and suspects with dignity and respect. He exemplifies the core values of the Hawai‘i Police Department, through his integrity, professionalism, compassion, teamwork, and community satisfaction.”

Acting Deputy Chief Reed Mahuna, who attended this morning’s ceremony said, “Detective Balberde has done outstanding work, we are very proud of him, and he is certainly an asset to our department.” Mahuna added, “We would also like to thank the Hawai‘i County Council and Councilmember Inaba for recognizing our officers who do such great work”.

Prior to being promoted to Sergeant/Detective in August 2020 and being assigned to the Area I Criminal Investigation Section in East Hawai‘i, Balberde worked as a patrol officer in Kona and Hilo, an officer in the CRU, as well as Vice and the Criminal Intelligence Unit in Kona.     

Photo from L-R: Acting Deputy Chief Reed Mahuna, Detective John Balberde, Captain Rio Amon-Wilkins.

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