3-08-24 Three Officers Honored by Kona Crime Prevention Committee

Hawaii Police Department
Kona Community Policing
Sergeant Brandon Mansur
Phone: (808) 326-4646, Ext. 253

Media Release

Three Hawai‘i Police Department officers were honored for their passionate investigations and professionalism by the Kona Crime Prevention Committee (KCPC) in the first quarter of 2024. Officer Elijah Won was honored as Officer of the Month for January 2024, Officer Kyung Yu for February 2024, and Officer Vincent Sanekane for March 2024.

January 2024: Officer Elijah Won

Officer Won was recognized for his initiative in conducting investigations. On August 2, 2023, he learned that an assault had occurred during the watch prior to his in which a man was beaten with a metal pipe.

Looking into the case further, Officer Won instantly recognized the name of the suspect from previous contacts. He checked for the suspect in his beat area along Ali‘i Drive and discovered him sleeping near a business on Henry Street. As Officer Won arrested the suspect, he noticed the butt of a what appeared to be a pistol sticking out of the suspect’s backpack. An airsoft pistol resembling a real automatic pistol was recovered after a search warrant was executed on the backpack. Two different types of narcotics were also recovered after an Area II narcotics canine alerted to the presence of narcotics in each of the three bags in the suspect’s possession. In addition, more than 20 credit cards belonging to multiple people were also recovered.

In a separate case in August 2023, Officer Won responded to a robbery on Ali‘i Drive in which a man had been assaulted and his backpack stolen. Demonstrating compassion and commitment to assisting the victim, Officer Won tracked down surveillance video and interviewed witnesses, which resulted in the suspect being charged with second-degree robbery, second-degree terroristic threatening, third-degree assault, and fourth-degree theft.

A five-year veteran of the department, this is the sixth time Officer Won has been honored as Officer of the Month.

February 2024: Officer Kyung Yu

KCPC honored Officer Kyung Yu as Officer of the Month for February 2024 for his  commitment to the community he serves. On August 9, 2023, Officer Yu was on patrol in Kailua-Kona when he learned that a 2002 Blue Ford Excursion containing roughly $14,000 in U.S. currency had been stolen from a job site in Captain Cook.

As Officer Yu headed south on Highway 11 to make checks for the stolen vehicle, he saw the truck heading north on Highway 11 just south of the intersection with Kamehameha III Road. The truck was operated by a man wearing a pink shirt.

Turning around, Officer Yu initiated a traffic stop, however the driver of the stolen truck ran a red light and fled down Kamehameha III Road at a high rate of speed. Continuing after the suspect, Officer Ku learned that he had driven down Manukai Street, a dead-end that leads into a resort. He noticed that the gate arm to the entrance of the resort was broken off and further determined that the stolen vehicle was near the rear of the resort.

Pursuing the suspect of foot, Officer Yu was able to capture and arrest him. The suspect was charged with first-degree theft, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle (auto theft), reckless driving, no vehicle insurance, criminal property damage, and resisting an order to stop. Officer Yu was able to recover and return the vehicle and almost all of the $14,000 to the victim.

An eight-year veteran of the department, this is Officer Yu’s second Officer of the Month award.  

March 2024: Vincent Sanekane

Officer Sanekane was honored as Officer of the Month for March 2024 for the exceptional investigative skills he displayed on Monday, August 28, 2023, while investigating a report of a man untying boats from the dock at the Kailua Pier.

Arriving on scene, Officer Sanekane interviewed two witnesses, later determining that one of them was a victim of harassment. Officer Sanekane determined that the suspect was fixated on the victim due to a visible disability. The suspect mocked the victim and used his skateboard to strike a nearby truck numerous times believing it belonged to the disabled person.

The suspect then walked to a skiff moored to the pier, untied the rope securing it, and intentionally set it adrift. The suspect then walked toward a second boat, and did the same thing. The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) was summoned to the scene, and recovered the vessels about a half-mile from the pier. Without the assistance of HFD, the vessels could have capsized, sustained damages, or sunk.

Officer Sanekane identified and interviewed the owners of the boat and skiff. He determined that the vessels were critical to the operations of the tour companies that owned them, and that without their use, there would be a substantial loss in revenue. The total value of the boats was estimated to be more than $43,000, and the damage to the truck was estimated at more than $5,000 dollars.

The suspect was charged with second-degree criminal property damage, two counts of first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, theft, harassment, disorderly conduct, and habitual property crime.

A two-year veteran of the department, this is Officer Sanekane’s first Officer of the Month award.  

Every month the Kona Crime Prevention Committee honors a police officer in west Hawai‘i as their Officer of the Month. Officers are nominated by their supervisors from the various police districts and a winner is selected by the KCPC board of directors. All officers selected for Officer of the Month are eligible to be selected as the Kona Crime Prevention Committee’s Officer of the Year.

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