East Hawaii News

Police Officers in Kona, Puna Honored for Investigative Work

December 5, 2013, 10:11 AM HST
* Updated December 5, 10:12 AM
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Police officers in Kona and Hilo were recently honored as the “Officer of the Month” for December and November, respectively, for their investigative efforts.

Officer Kalae Lee was recognized by the Kona Crime Prevention Committee for his successful investigation of a methamphetamine dealer.

In July 2013, Lee received valuable intelligence that a man was distributing large quantities of “ice” in North Kohala.

After conducting a month-long investigation with assistance from North Kohala Community Policing officers, the investigation led to the identity of a suspect and confirmed the reports of meth distribution.

Officer Lee drafted and obtained search warrants for a Kapaʻau home, where police recovered 4½ ounces of crystal meth with an estimated street value of $14,750 just hours before it was to be distributed into the community.

Police arrested two people at the scene, including a 46-year-old man later charged with first-degree meth trafficking and drug paraphernalia, and a 28-year-old woman later charged with promoting a dangerous drug and drug paraphernalia.

Det. Edwin A. Buyten from the Ice Task Force recommended Lee for the award and commended him for his investigative skills.

“Officers later learned the community was extremely pleased with the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s effort to disrupt the flow of narcotics within their community and protect their children from dangerous and harmful drugs,” Buyten wrote in nomination papers.

Also, Puna Patrol Officer Lloyd Ishikawa has been recognized by the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaii for piecing together information that led to the arrest of a man considered armed and dangerous.

On Sept. 30, police responded to a report that a man had fired several rounds from a silver Mazda Miata in the Panaʻewa area of Hilo.

In the days that followed, Ishikawa was provided with the identity of the suspect and shared the information with his fellow officers. One remembered being sent to Fern Acres a few days earlier, where the property owner reported a silver Miata parked on the vacant lot. Checks of the license plate at that time had not shown the car as being stolen or belonging to a wanted person.

On October 3, Ishikawa went to the Fern Acres property and observed fresh tire tracks leading up the driveway. After obtaining permission from the property owner to proceed onto the lot, he returned at dusk with a team of officers and discovered additional fresh tire tracks.

Ishikawa directed the officers to walk in on foot to retain the element of surprise. When they did, they observed three vehicles on the property, including the Miata, a stolen pickup truck and a stolen Mercedes Benz.

The doors, hood and trunk of the Mercedes were open. Two people, who were standing next to it, fled into the bushes but were quickly apprehended. One of them was the suspect in the shooting. A semi-automatic pistol was on the seat of the open Mercedes. Inside the Miata was a spent firearm cartridge.

After the arrest, Officer Ishikawa contacted the registered owner of the Miata, who was on the mainland and unaware that the car had been stolen. Ishikawa then opened an additional case for the stolen Miata.

Lt. Reed Mahuna, who recommended Ishikawa for the award, said Ishikawa “truly demonstrates” the Police Department’s core values.

“Officer Ishikawa’s diligence in taking a piece of information, sharing that information to develop leads, and acting on those leads was instrumental in the apprehension of a dangerous fugitive and the recovery of three stolen vehicles, one of which had not yet been reported stolen,” Mahuna wrote in nomination papers.

Each officer is now eligible to become “Officer of the Year” from the respective organizations.

Ishikawa was previously named “Officer of the Year” Hawaii in 2011 by the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaii.

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