TO SERVE & TO PROTECT
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
A memorial service for fallen police officers was held last night at the Holy Family Catholic Church. Tina Yap of the Celtic Pipes and Drums of Hawaii played "Amazing Grace" to close the ceremony. CLICK FOR LARGE
41 fallen officers honored in Honolulu service
The first remembered is officer Steve Favela, one of the six who have died on motorcycle detail
STEVE FAVELA was the last of 41 Honolulu police officers to die in the line of duty in the past 104 years, but the first remembered at last night's memorial service held in their honor.
The 30-year-old officer died less than six months ago from injuries sustained when his motorcycle, part of a presidential motorcade, crashed on a rain-slick roadway.
His death was fresh in the minds of fellow solo bike officers, who were among the 41 officers to light candles to remember their fallen brothers.
"We were all somewhat close to Steve," solo bike officer Scott Valdez said. "I was the fourth bike back, and I saw it happen so it's not something I'll soon forget."
But Valdez said he was happy to see fellow officers pay their respects.
Honolulu Police Department chaplains conducted the ecumenical memorial service at Holy Family Catholic Church to honor the 41 officers killed in the line of duty since 1903.
Favela was escorting President Bush at Hickam Air Force Base on Nov. 21 when the accident occurred, and died five days later despite efforts to save him, including community blood drives and the amputation of his leg.
His wife and four children are in Washington, D.C., attending Peace Officers Memorial Day during Police Week in honor of law enforcement officers nationwide. Slain officer Glen Gaspar's daughter Kiana, 17, accompanied the Favelas.
Six of the 41 who died were solo bike officers, the highest fatality record for any detail or division, said officer Eddie Croom, HPD historian.
Assistant Chief Bryan Wauke, who served as captain with the Traffic Division when solo bike officer Ryan Goto was killed, said anyone who has been stalled on the freeway can understand some of the dangers motorcycle officers face. "It's the environment that they're in, just to stop speeders or intoxicated drivers or reckless drivers," he said.
But Wauke emphasized that all police officers face dangers. The memorial "really drives home how vulnerable we are," he said.
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
At Holy Family Catholic Church, the Honolulu Police Department held a memorial service yesterday for fallen officers. Officer Jeremy Franks placed a candle for James Keonaona, who died in 1923. CLICK FOR LARGE
Alyson Thulin, 30, daughter of Dannygriggs Padayao, a patrol officer*
who died in 2001, said the memorial is a reminder that her father's death "goes beyond your family." She is reminded how he and other officers touched the community.
She said all in her family have been moved to engage in community service, including public speaking for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Thulin said it was nice too to see her father's fellow officers, whom she met as a child and considers extended family.
But for Eva Gaspar, 79, whose son Glen Gaspar was shot and killed in 2003, the memorial brings back unpleasant memories. "Nothing ever gets easier," said Gaspar, who visits her son's grave weekly.
Flags at state and county buildings are flying at half-staff today, proclaimed by Gov. Linda Lingle as Peace Officers Memorial Day in Hawaii. That ties in with the president's order for all U.S. flags to be flown at half-mast today to honor the nation's law enforcement officers.
Friday, May 18, 2007
» Dannygriggs Padayao of the Honolulu Police Department was a patrol officer laying flares when he was killed by a drunken driver in April 2001. He was not a motorcycle officer as a story on Page A3 said Tuesday.