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Bronze Medal of Valor given to Officer

08/13/2014


Chief Louis M. Kealoha presented the Honolulu Police Department's (HPD) Bronze Medal of Valor, the department's third highest award, to Officer Kerwin Unten during a ceremony at the Mission Memorial Auditorium today.

On February 8, 2013, Officer Unten was off duty and near his home when he heard a building maintenance worker yelling for help. Officer Unten, along with Messrs. Asher Murro, Cornelio Nolasco, Dennis Buenaventura, and Lino Nolasco, ran toward the screams coming from the third floor of the parking structure and saw an elderly couple in a vehicle that was engulfed in flames. Officer Unten quickly ran to the car, unlocked the door, and pulled the couple to safety while Messrs. Murro, Nolasco, Buenaventura, and Nolasco extinguished the flames. For their role in the rescue, the four men received Civilian Certificates of Merit.

Police Radio Dispatcher (PRD) Naomi Uyeshiro guided and directed a four-year-old girl through a very stressful situation that may have saved her mother's life. It all started on April 18, 2014, when Emergency Response Operator (ERO) Susan Jay received a call from the child stating that her mother was lying on the floor and shaking. ERO Jay transferred the call to PRD Uyeshiro, who was unable to get the caller's exact location because of the caller's young age and because she was using a cellular telephone.
PRD Uyeshiro talked to the girl and asked her to step out of her apartment so that the police officers could find her. Around the same time, a second PRD (Ms. Marsella Eberhardt) asked the responding officers to illuminate their blue lights so the four-year-old could easily see their vehicles. After an anxious search that lasted about nine minutes, officers located the girl and found her mother lying on the floor, semiconscious and unable to speak. It was later determined that the mother had a preexisting medical condition and was recovering. For their quick thinking and dedication, PRD Uyeshiro received the Civilian Certificate of Merit, and Letters of Commendation were given to ERO Jay and PRD Eberhardt.

Mr. Paul Morgan, a Hawaiian Airlines pilot, helped capture an alleged thief. On
April 29, 2014, Mr. Morgan was sitting outside of a restaurant at the Koko Marina Shopping Center with a female acquaintance when a juvenile male grabbed the female's purse and ran toward Kalanianaole Highway. Mr. Morgan chased the suspect across the highway and back to the shopping center where he grabbed and held him until officers arrived. Mr. Morgan also found the purse in a nearby parking lot. The juvenile suspect was arrested for theft and truancy and was also given a trespass warning. Mr. Morgan was presented with a Civilian Certificate of Merit.

A Letter of Commendation was given to Officer Lei Ann Yamada for organizing Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) training and certification for police instructors from the HPD and two other county police departments. As a result of her exceptional leadership and organizational skills, all 18 students passed the course in five days--much faster than the six months allowed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidelines.

The Employee of the Second Quarter Award was given to Corporal Maxie Navas, who is assigned to District 4 (Kailua-Kaneohe-Kahuku). On May 21, 2014, Corporal Navas was sent to a gasoline theft where the suspect had drilled and removed gas from under the victim's vehicle. Corporal Navas was able to locate and arrest the suspect who was in possession of a five-gallon gas can, a drill, and a drill bit. In the second quarter, Corporal Navas also made 18 arrests (including 3 felony arrests) and issued 35 citations.

District 6's (Waikiki) First Watch is the Unit of the Second Quarter. These officers are responsible for addressing the high level of activity associated with the Waikiki night life. During the second quarter, the First Watch made 780 arrests, including 31 felony arrests and more than 160 drinking and driving arrests. They also issued more than 2,200 citations. Their actions made the roads safer, helped lower the overall crime rate, and also reduced complaints. The First Watch is comprised of Lieutenant David Yomes; Sergeants Melvin Andres Jr., Zane Hamrick, James Rahe, Noel Tenney, and Nathan Wharton; and Officers Micah Apo, Blake Arita, Ross Borges, Jason-Adrian Fong-Aiu, Noli Galicha Jr., Shane Hess, Jared Kaholokula, Jon Kawana, Jonathan Ko, David Kuaana, John Nguyen, Justin Nobriga, Rance Okano, Toneber Reyes, Tricenn Rivera, Christian Sahlen, Riley Sanders, Dannan Smith, Dorian Soto, William Suarez, Jesse Takushi, Tracy Tamondong, Stephen Timmons, Kylen Tsubaki, and Daniel Wolf.