CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Police Officer of the Year Josephine Kaanehe sat with her son Giovanni yesterday after receiving her award at a breakfast ceremony at the Waialae Country Club.
19-year vet is HPD's Officer of Year
Josephine Kaanehe is praised for her work in anti-drug courses
The Honolulu Police Department named several officers and a civilian as employees of the year yesterday.
The 2006 Police Officer of the Year is 19-year veteran officer Josephine Kaanehe, whose "commitment to educating Hawaii's youth on the perils of drug abuse is unparalleled," according to HPD spokesman Capt. Frank Fujii.
Last year, Kaanehe taught anti-drug courses at 14 school campuses as well as being assigned to the Juvenile Services Division's Drug Abuse Resistance Education unit, where she trains other officers to become DARE instructors.
HPD also named a full-time architect as its Reserve Officer of the Year. Officer Melvin Nakaoka is a member of the District 1 (Downtown) Special Assignment Team and assists regular officers during Friday and Saturday nights when it is busiest. Police officials said Nakaoka dedicated 238 hours of his time as a volunteer police officer and received numerous commendations and letters of appreciation for his work last year.
Detective Randall Gratz was honored as Police Parent of the Year for his work as a Boy Scout troop leader. Besides leading a 50-mile hike through Kilauea Volcano National Park, Gratz also volunteered as a staff member for the 2005 National Boy Scout Jamboree in Virginia.
The Civilian Employee of the Year is Michelle Yu, HPD's public information officer. According to Fujii, Yu is the "behind the scenes" person who advises chiefs and the department on their dealings with the media and has made HPD become "much more open and accessible to the community."
All of the honorees were recognized for their work yesterday morning in a breakfast ceremony at the Waialae Country Club.