The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaii presented its annual Police Officer and Firefighter of the Year awards March 18.
Honorees are officer Daniel Tam and firefighter Chas Taketa.
On Feb. 12, 2018, Tam was assigned to a reported theft in the Eden Roc subdivision, where several generators and tools were reported stolen. He conducted neighborhood checks to develop any leads in the case, and through his determined efforts a suspect was apprehended. In making the arrest, he recovered all the stolen property along with marijuana and 24-rounds of ammunition from the suspect’s backpack.
On Feb. 18, 2018, Tam was honored for his heroic efforts in a structure fire in Hawaiian Paradise Park. He entered the heavily smoke-filled house with officer Tristin Allen to ensure no people were inside. In doing so, they encountered a 75-year-old man and directed him out to safety. He then put out the flames from a propane-fueled stove in the kitchen area, placing his own life in danger.
Tam displays outstanding investigative skills in his daily police work and earned the respect of his co-workers and the community he serves.
Taketa is a fire medical specialist.
In July 2018, he voluntarily transitioned from Station 14, where he worked as a paramedic attached to Medic 14 and Chopper 2, to the Training Bureau. There, he prepared for the latest recruit class by developing the physical training curriculum and scheduled much of the coursework. This was a hands-on process he took upon himself to do the workouts that he was prescribing for recruits before putting them through their paces.
On Aug. 16, 2018, the 46th recruit class commenced, with the recruits being welcomed to the Hawaii Fire Department. Taketa was responsible for structuring and scheduling the training sessions, as well as leading the classroom instruction. To accomplish this, he periodically worked early and often stayed well past the duty day to ensure he was prepared for the following day’s training session.
His dedication to the department in his role as recruit training officer has had a positive impact on the next generation of firefighters and is evident in the progress the recruits have made under his guidance in addition to the respect they have for their instructor.