DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
After the awards ceremony where Honolulu Police Chief Boisse Correa presented the Warrior Bronze Medal of Merit to officer Louise Akina, left, she was all smiles alongside her proud son, Sean, who held her certificate yesterday at HPD's main police station. CLICK FOR LARGE
HPD brass fetes feats of heroism
Isle heroes, officers and civilians recognized for their actions
STORY SUMMARY »
Several police officers and five residents were recognized for their efforts in preserving public safety.
Of note were four teenagers who took it upon themselves to wrestle a robber to the ground after giving chase on their bicycles, and afterward volunteering to look for the stolen belongings.
Several officers were recognized for their undercover operation in busting recycling operations that purchased stolen copper. And four officers were recognized for stopping separate suicide attempts.
FULL STORY »
Four California-raised teens and 11-year police veteran Louise Akina have one thing in common: When they see trouble, they act.
Akina, 13 other officers, four teenagers and a bus driver were all honored yesterday by the Honolulu Police Department for exemplary work in keeping the community safe.
Two pairs of brothers -- Jose and Samuel Sanchez, and Angel and Brian Gallardo -- received special attention and enthusiastic handshakes from the force and the observing crowd at HPD's main police station for their apprehension of a robber in March. The Sanchezes are 18 and 17, respectively, and the Gallardos are both 19.
While bicycling in Kailua, they found a woman who had just been robbed of her wallet and car keys at a Kailua Bank of Hawaii. Immediately, the four split up to search for the suspect.
Jose said he saw the suspect, gave chase and wrestled him to the ground. The four held the suspect down until police arrived.
After the suspect was identified and arrested, the boys voluntarily searched the area for the victim's wallet and keys. They found the car keys, and another pedestrian found the wallet the next day, police said.
Jose was awarded a Certificate of Merit, while the other three received Letters of Appreciation. The four boys just moved to Hawaii this year from Tustin, Calif.
Assistant Chief Michael Tucker said although the department does not encourage that kind of action, showing willingness to protect the public good was something that needed to be honored.
When asked why the four wanted to help out, Brian Gallardo said, "It was just the adrenaline pumping. If you see someone that needs help, we don't think, we just do it."
As to whether they would do a similar apprehension again, Gallardo laughed and said, "Depends on how big the guy is next time."
Officer Akina received the Warrior Bronze Medal of Merit for her part in saving a man from killing himself. Akina and Officer Jaime Kurosawa were responding to a call of a suicidal man at a Liliha apartment complex in January.
The man, with eyes rolled back and mouth foaming, was about to jump from the third-floor balcony when Akina wrestled with him and pulled him back to safety.
"Pretty much you don't really think about anything," Akina said. "The training just kicks in, you react and save the person no matter what they're doing or what harm you may put yourself into."
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
After Honolulu Police Chief Boisse Correa presented the Warrior Bronze Medal of Merit to officer Louise Akina at HPD's main police station yesterday, she walked past applauding officers, including Assistant Chiefs Michael Tamashiro, left, John Kerr and Deputy Chiefs Paul Putzulu and Glen Kajiyama. CLICK FOR LARGE
The Honolulu Police Department honored the following people for their work in public safety:
Officers Louise Akina and Jaime Kurosawa: awarded the Warrior Bronze Medal of Merit and Certificate of Merit, respectively, for saving a man who was trying to kill himself in Liliha.
Sgt. David Yomes: awarded Officer of the Quarter for initiating a pedestrian safety operation that issued 253 citations. He also made 24 arrests, including 11 felony arrests for auto theft, break-ins and illegal gambling.
Officers Michael Hughes and James Rahe: awarded a Certificate of Merit and Letter of Commendation, respectively, for disarming and stopping a 23-year-old Kalihi man from cutting his own throat.
Patrol units from the downtown, Kalihi and Pearl City districts: awarded Certificates of Merit for their part in Operation Full Copper Jacket, an undercover operation that resulted in the arrest of two metal recycling employees for purchasing stolen copper.
Jose and Samuel Sanchez, and Angel and Brian Gallardo: awarded a Certificate of Merit for Jose Sanchez and Letters of Appreciation for the rest for stopping a robber in Kailua.
Steven Naeole: awarded a Letter of Appreciation for calling in a vandalism case while working as a bus driver, and remaining at the scene until police arrived.