Hawai'i State News

Looking good: Hawaiʻi State Sheriffs receive national best-dressed law enforcement award

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The State of Hawaiʻi Sheriff Division was named the winner of the 2023 best-dressed public safety award for “Police & Sheriff – Sheriff” by the Network Association of Uniform Manufacturers and Distributors and honored during a ceremony in front of ʻIolani Palace on May 15, 2023. (Hawai’i State Department of Public Safety)

The State of Hawaiʻi Sheriff Division was named the winner of the 2023 best-dressed public safety award for “Police & Sheriff – Sheriff” by the Network Association of Uniform Manufacturers and Distributors.

Each year, the uniform association’s award committee looks at hundreds of nominations from across North America and other countries, considering appearance, functionality, policy standards for wear and historical content.

A ceremony was conducted in front of ʻIolani Palace on May 15 to congratulate the State Sheriff Division.


“This well-deserved award recognizes the diligent work of Chief Deputy Lanikoa Dobrowolsky and his team in the Sheriffs Division, to do the research to create a uniform design that is historically meaningful and culturally relevant, while also being practical to meet the modern needs of his uniformed division members,” Gov. Josh Green said in a news release. “I share in the department’s pride in receiving this hard-earned honor.”

Public Safety Department Director Tommy Johnson said: “This national award validates the decision made to change the Sheriffs uniform. Deputies were asked to collaborate with the uniform manufacturer 911 Supply Inc. to come up with a new uniform that they could all be proud of.”

The initiative to change the uniforms in 2021 addressed the supply issues that Sheriffs faced for many years. The division adopted its new uniforms in 2021 after a rigorous evaluation period. The uniforms perpetuate the honored legacy of Hawaiʻi Sheriffs and reflect respect for the traditions of the many agencies that now make up the modern Sheriff Division. 


The colors of the new uniforms represent portions of the uniforms from the history of the Sheriffs.

  • The green trousers represent the color of the uniforms that were worn by the State of Hawaiʻi Law Enforcement Officers, previously under the State Attorney General, prior to being merged with the Sheriff Division in 1990.
  • The Silver Tan Shirt represented the tan-on-tan uniform worn by Hawaiʻi State Sheriffs in the 1980s.
  • The Brown Campaign Cover represents the legacy headgear worn by the Sheriff and his deputies back to the birth of the Sheriffs in Hawaiʻi under the monarchy. 

The Sheriff Division was established in 1846, making it the oldest law enforcement agency within the State of Hawaiʻi and the only law enforcement agency in the nation to have directly reported to a king.

The following remarks were made by Dobrowolsky as he accepted the award in Atlanta, Ga. on behalf of the division:


“The State of Hawaiʻi Sheriff Division is proud of its heritage and its humble beginnings under King Kamehameha III,” he said. “Hawaiʻi is a special place that has many unique features, such as the inclusion of 10 of the world’s 14 climate zones. These were factors that were taken into functional consideration during the selection of the Sheriff Division’s new uniforms.

“A uniform is the universal symbol that represents our agency and those who have taken on the heavy responsibility of protecting the innocent. Our deputies live their oath daily and are quiet professionals that are important parts of the Hawaiʻi criminal justice system.

“We are humbled by the award and would like to thank the many dedicated staff members who worked on our uniform transition, our friends at 911 Supply Inc., our photographer Jamm Aquino, and the NAUMD for the honor.”

The State of Hawaiʻi Sheriff Division is one of only two Sheriff organizations in the United States to be situated within state government, versus county government. The Sheriff Division has 325 deputies statewide and performs services such as judicial support, patrol of areas within state jurisdiction, executive protection (the Governor’s and Lieutenant Governor’s protective details), canine operations, special operations and investigations.

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