Fifth graders from Nā Wai Ola Public Charter School in Mountain View were among the members of the public who joined the Hawaiʻi Police Department in celebrating Police Week on Monday (May 11) at the Hilo police station.

A 21-gun salute, “Taps” and a candle-lighting ceremony were part of the tribute to the four Hawaiʻi Police Department officers killed in the line of duty since 1918: Manuel Cadinha (1918), William “Red” Oili (1936), Ronald “Shige” Jitchaku (1990) and Kenneth Keliipio (1997).

During the ceremony, Mayor Billy Kenoi recognized the fallen officers and thanked the Police Department’s current officers for their service. “Everybody’s job in this county is much easier because of all your courage, all your service, all your aloha. So, mahalo,” he said.

Chief Harry Kubojiri thanked the officers for their “courage, dedication and perseverance” in protecting the citizens of Hawaiʻi Island. “I am honored, proud and privileged to serve beside each and every one of you,” he said.

The mayor and chief also commended Momi Cazimero, the sister of Ronald “Shige” Jitchaku, for her years of work toward erecting a memorial for the Police Department’s fallen officers. Following the Police Week ceremony, a blessing was held on a grassy area fronting Hualālai Street, the site of the future memorial, which is expected to be completed in time for Police Week next year.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which it falls as Police Week. Another Police Week ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday (May 13) at the Kona police station. The public is invited to attend.