The Kona Crime Prevention Committee recognized Officer Jerome Duarte as “Officer of the Month” for May in a luncheon ceremony May 7 at Huggo’s restaurant.
Duarte was honored for stopping an assault in progress while off duty. At 6:30 a.m. March 15, Duarte, who was wearing civilian clothing, was headed to the Kona police station prior to the start of his shift. En route, he saw a man with an aluminum bat chasing a naked man in the middle of Kuakini Highway where it intersects with Nalani Street. The suspect swung the bat at the victim several times while the victim tried to get away. Duarte stopped his car, grabbed his duty firearm, announced that he was a police officer and confronted the suspect. He directed him to drop the bat and to get on the ground and stay in that position. After the suspect complied, Duarte called for an ambulance for the victim, who had several large red marks on his back and legs. The suspect was arrested and charged with felony assault. Sergeant David Araki, who nominated Duarte for the award, noted the officer’s actions represent one of the reasons people become officers—to make a positive difference in the community.
As “Officer of the Month,” Duarte is eligible to become “Officer of the Year.”
The Kona Crime Prevention Committee is an organization that encourages community involvement in aiding and supporting police in West Hawaii.