RONEN ZILBERMAN / RZILBERMAN@STARBULLETIN.COM|
David, left, and Robert Jones embraced each other during graduation ceremonies Dec. 3 for the Honolulu Police Department's 145th recruit class at the Hawaii Okinawa Center.
Siblings become brothers
in arms for HPD
Blaring sirens and flashing lights are nothing new to two of the newest members of the Honolulu Police Department.
After leaving their jobs as emergency medical technicians for the New York Fire Department, brothers David and Robert Jones decided to go for HPD badges.
Hailing from Washington Heights in northern Manhattan, the brothers started their HPD training on May 29 and graduated with the 145th recruit class on Dec. 3 at the Hawaii Okinawa Center in Waipahu.
"We always had an interest in police work," said Robert, 35. "I was visiting my brother, who moved out here first, fell in love with Hawaii too and we both pursued it here.
"It's an excellent department. The training is incredible and I love it. We love it," Robert said.
According to David, 32, many relatives have worked with various emergency crews.
"My grandfather, my uncle, all started out as volunteer firefighters," David said. "Then we went into EMS because we wanted to be more proactive -- instead of reacting to situations, go out there and make a difference in the community.
"That's why police work suited that naturally."
David, who moved to Hawaii after leaving his job as an EMT, said his brother was visiting him here on Sept. 11, 2001. Robert wanted to get back to help but the airports were shut, David said.
"He was stuck here and it was frustrating for him," David said. "It was frustrating for me because I wasn't working in emergency services anymore."
Robert eventually returned to New York and worked with thousands of other emergency workers at Ground Zero. He came back to Hawaii afterward and both brothers decided that HPD was their future.
"We were supposed to be in different classes, but we ended up training at the same time," Robert said.
The brothers dismissed concerns about Hawaii's high cost of living. They said they had other priorities, mainly quality-of-life issues.
"There's something a lot more valuable here, and that's the people and the place. And that's why we moved out here," David said. "We both wanted to get back to a place where family and the community are very important, and to us, Hawaii is the place for that."