Big Island police honor promoted officers, award recipients
Police Chief Benjamin Moszkowicz has promoted 14 individuals within Hawai‘i Police Department: Six to the rank of Lieutenant, three to Sergeant, three to Detective, one to Supervising Police Communications Officer, and one to Police Operations Clerk. The promotions are effective May 1.
The newly promoted include:
- Lieutenant Nelson Acob, a 23-year veteran, is now assigned to the Records & Identification Section. He most recently served as Sergeant in the Records & Identification Section.
- Lieutenant Aaron Carvalho, a 19-year veteran, is now assigned to the Special Response Team. He was most recently Sergeant of the Special Response Team.
- Lieutenant Zachary Fernando, a 19-year veteran, is now assigned to the Area I Vice Section. He previously worked as a Detective in the Area I Criminal Investigation Section.
- Lieutenant Michael Hardie, a 22-year veteran, is now assigned to the Area II Criminal Investigation Section. He most recently served as Sergeant of Area II Community Policing.
- Lieutenant Erich Jackson, a 17-year veteran, is now assigned to Kona Patrol. He most recently served as Sergeant of Kona Patrol.
- Lieutenant Jeremy Lewis, a 21-year veteran, is now assigned to Kona Patrol. He most recently served as Sergeant of Kona Patrol.
- Sergeant Clifford Antonio, a 13-year veteran, is now assigned to North Kohala Patrol. He previously served as a Traffic Enforcement Unit Officer in Area I (Hilo).
- Sergeant Christopher Fukumoto, an 8-year veteran, is now assigned to Puna Patrol. He most recently served as a Community Police Officer in Area I.
- Sergeant Amy Omaya, a 13-year veteran, is now assigned to Hāmākua Patrol. She most recently served in Community Relations, in Administration.
- Detective Cacique Melendez, a 10-year veteran, is now assigned to the Area II Criminal Investigation Section. He most recently served in South Kohala Patrol.
Detective Chandler Nacino, a 9-year veteran, is now assigned to the Area II Juvenile Aid Section. He most recently worked in the Area II Vice section.
Detective Joshua Pa, a 12-year veteran, is now assigned to the Area II Criminal Investigation Section. He most recently served in South Kohala Patrol.
- Aldo Acosta, who has nine years of service, is now the Supervising Police Communications Officer in the Communications-Dispatch Section. He was previously a Police Communications Officer II.
- Joni Wah Yick, who has two years of service, is now the North Hilo/Police Operations Clerk. She was previously a Clerk II in the Word Processing Center.
A recognition ceremony to honor the newly promoted department personnel and two Certificate of Merit recipients was held in Hilo on April 26. The recognition ceremony also included Captains Tuckloy Aurello and Brian Prudencio, and Major Thomas Shopay III, who were promoted effective April 1.
Initiated by Chief Moszkowicz, this is the first time a recognition ceremony has been held for newly promoted personnel.
“I am proud of all the department members who have taken the next step in their careers,” said Chief Moszkowicz. “I am also excited that we now have a public forum to recognize their accomplishments and give their families a chance to express their pride and appreciation.”
Two Certificate of Merit recipients, Officer Benheiden Del Toro and Police Communications Officer Rowell Ching, were recognized as well. Certificates of Merit are relatively rare within the department and are awarded to sworn personnel and civilian personnel who have distinguished themselves by exceptional performance of duties or periods of outstanding and faithful service, acts, or achievements.
Officer Del Toro, a nine-year veteran of the department, received the Certificate of Merit for distinguished and exceptional performance of his duties while arresting a violent offender in June 2019. At the time, Officer Del Toro was working as a Field Training Officer in the Puna district when he and his recruit were dispatched to a domestic abuse call on Papaya Farms Road in Pāhoa. The suspect exited his residence brandishing a metal spear.
The second Certificate of Merit was awarded to Police Communications Officer Rowell Ching for administering the Heimlich maneuver, thereby saving the life a coworker who was choking. At 9:30 p.m. on January 11, 2023, one of Ching’s fellow Police Communications Officers had just started her break when she started to choke. Unable to clear her throat with water, the employee was becoming dizzy. She made her way to Ching and got his attention as she was struggling to breathe. Recognizing the seriousness of the situation, Ching, who has been with the department for 22 years, performed the Heimlich maneuver, dislodging the item, which allowed his coworker to start breathing again.