Officers Kuwabara, Horton Honored as ‘Officer of the Month’
East Hawai’i “Officer of the Month” acknowledgements for March and April were issued by the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawai’i.
Hilo Patrol Officer Daniel Kuwabara was recognized for the month of March, while Puna Patrol
Officer Gregory Horton was recognized for the month of April.
The club recognized Officer Kuwabara for his efforts in a sexual assault case that led to a suspect in custody within an hour.
Last October, police responded to a report of an adult female who said that she had been sexually assaulted in Hilo. During the same time, officers responded to a report of a disorderly man in a nearby area. Officer Kuwabara told officers responding to the man the descriptions of the suspect in the assault, noting that they were similar except for clothing. He then met with the victim and was able to obtain a better description, which included a tattoo. The details allowed police to identify the man and charge him with disorderly contact, as well as kidnapping, burglary, and sexual assault.
Officer Horton was honored as “Officer of the Month” for April for providing field training to a police recruit that included drafting a search warrant and recovering evidence that led to felony charges.
On Feb. 8, Officer Horton and his recruit were conducting a roving patrol on Highway 130 near Orchidland when they made a traffic stop on a sports-utility vehicle around 2 a.m. The vehicle was driving slowly and had no lights.
When making contact with the driver, an assisting officer noticed a partially concealed rifle on the passenger side floor mat within arm’s reach of the driver. Officer Horton worked through the case with the recruit, which over a two-day period included the drafting and obtaining of a search warrant. The warrant led to the recovery of a loaded rifle, loose ammunition, crystal methamphetamine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.
The driver, a 20-year-old, was charged with nine drug and weapons offenses, and the officers initiated forfeiture proceedings on the SUV.
Officer Kuwabara and Officer Horton are now both eligible for “Officer of the Year.”