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Honoring Hawaii’s finest

May 15, 2014 - 9:38am

Hawaii Police Department officers and the community honored four Hawaii Island officers killed in the line of duty, as well as two officers injured in a 2013 Hilo shooting, during a formal ceremony held Wednesday in Kailua-Kona.

The four police officers who died in the line of duty while serving the Big Island community are Officer Manuel Cadinha, in 1918; Officer William “Red” Oili, in 1936; Officer Ronald “Shige” Jitchaku, in 1990; and Officer Kenneth Keliipio, who died in the line of duty in 1997 following a fatal car accident involving an off-duty police officer.

In addition to those lost, the event also recognized HPD officers Garrett Hatada, a 14-year veteran of the department, and Joshua Gouveia, a 4-year veteran. On Jan. 2, 2013, the officers suffered gunshot wounds to their legs allegedly inflicted by Martin Keaka. The officers had responded to reports of gunshots in the area of Wailoa Pond in Hilo. Keaka was apprehended inside a home the next day.

Keaka was convicted in late April of first-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault, among eight other charges, including six firearms offenses. He is slated to be sentenced in June.

Both officers have returned to the line of duty, according to police.

President John F. Kennedy designated May 15 as National Peace Officer Memorial Day in 1962 and in 1994 President Bill Clinton directed the American flag on all government buildings be displayed at half-staff in remembrance of those killed. The week surrounding May 15 is known as National Police Week.

This year, 286 names were added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Wall in Washington bringing the number of officers killed in the line of duty in the United States to 20, 267, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Of the 286 names to be added, 100 made the ultimate sacrifice in 2013.