Kona officers, Waimea prosecutor honored

  • LAURA RUMINSKI/West Hawaii Today MADD board member Kurt Kendro talks about his personal experiences with drunk drivers at the MADD Law Enforcement Awards Tuesday at Umekes Fish Market Bar and Grill.
  • Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today

    Kona Patrol officers, from left, Dayson Taniguchi, Len Hamakado, Jason Miyashiro, Adam Hanes, Jonathan Rapoza and Deputy Prosecutor Britt Bailey are joined by Deputy Prosecutor Mark Disher, MADD board member Kurt Kendro and Area II Assistant Chief James O’Connor during the MADD Law Enforcement Awards event Tuesday at Umekes Fish Market Bar and Grill in Kailua-Kona.

KAILUA-KONA — Five Kona Patrol officers and a Hawaii County deputy prosecuting attorney were the recipients of the Toyota Hawaii-MADD Hawaii Law Enforcement Awards on Tuesday at Umekes Fish Market Bar and Grill.

The award recipients were honored for their exemplary efforts and dedication to stop impaired driving and support victims.

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Awards were presented to Kona Patrol officers Dayson Taniguchi, Len Hamakado, Jason Miyashiro, Adam Hanes and Jonathan Rapoza, and Deputy Prosecutor Britt Bailey, who is based in Waimea.

Maj. Samuel Jelsma received the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for Hawaii Island.

A 28-year police veteran, Jelsma has made DUI enforcement a priority throughout his career and estimates he has made more than 500 DUI arrests. In his previous position as a traffic enforcement sergeant, he established new roadblock locations around the island that resulted in a 179% increase in DUI arrests.

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The Kona Patrol officers honored Tuesday are just a handful of the officers responsible for 11 impaired driving arrests during the past week in Kona, according to statistics released Tuesday by the Hawaii Police Department.

Islandwide, officers arrested 21 motorists for suspected drunken driving between April 29 and Sunday; eight were involved in traffic accidents. So far this year, officers have arrested 394 drivers, down slightly from this time in 2018, when police had arrested 398 motorists.

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