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Samoan Fire Dance
HPD HISTORY: Officer Kalani Simerson
In 1952 Kalani Simerson joined the HPD and was given brief police training as was the norm back in those days. After completing his training he was assigned to different duties which included the Taxi Control Section, Junior Police Officer detail, Solo-bike detail in the Traffic Division, and then finally assigned to patrol duties.
Prior to joining the HPD, Officer Simerson served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. His regiment was part of a significant battle against Chinese forces that had crossed into North Korea to assist North Korean troops that were being pushed back by South Korean forces. During this conflict, the Army's 5th regiment team was being overrun and sustaining heavy casualties. During the conflict Simerson was assigned to care for the wounded and evacuate as many as possible. During the evacuation the regiment was rescued by U.S. tank forces that were regrouping to rejoin the fight.
During Officer Simersons HPD career he joined the department's Choral Group and performed in places such as Washington DC, New York, Chicago, Victoria British Columbia, and Australia to name a few. His entertainment abilities extended off-duty where he performed as a Samoan Knife dancer in local venues such as the Waikiki Tavern.
In 1967 while on patrol, Officer Simerson was involved with an uncooperative and combative male. During the altercation, Officer Simerson was assaulted by the male with a wooden object. His injuries were so severe that he left the HPD on disability that same year after serving for approximately 15 years.
His life after HPD was a colorful one. He was the former head of security at the Outrigger Hotel for a period of time before starting a limousine service where he met many famous people. They include Henry Kaiser, Alfred Apaka, Colonel Parker, Elvis Presley, Tony Bennett, Imelda Marcos, Wayne Newton, and Muhammad Ali to name a few. Today he meets regularly with past members of the HPD and is a proud member of an association of retired police officers and employees.
Story and photos courtesy of Retired Assistant Chief Joe Aveiro.