Rookie patrolman is East Hawaii Officer of the Month for May

  • Hawaii Police Department Photo Puna Patrol Officer Keao Fessenden-Grace is presented East Hawaii Officer of the Month aware by Aloha Exchange Club's Sylvia Belcher.

A recent police recruit, just two weeks into his new assignment as a solo patrol officer, played a pivotal role in locating a missing 5-year-old autistic girl just minutes after she was reported missing.

For his keen observations and quick thinking, Officer Keao Fessenden-Grace was honored July 14 as Officer of the Month for May 2022 by the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaii.


At 5:55 a.m. April 29, police responded to a report of a missing child in Ainaloa subdivision near Pahoa. The parent reported that they discovered their daughter was missing from their home when they woke up and that the child was last seen wearing unicorn print rainbow pants and pink T-shirt.

About the same time, Fessenden-Grace was at his residence preparing for his shift, when he heard the sound of a bell and a child’s voice coming from his neighbors’ house across the street. As he left for work, he saw a young girl wearing a pink shirt and pink pajama pants, standing on his neighbor’s front porch. Fessenden-Grace thought to himself that he had not seen that child at his neighbor’s residence before.

As he pulled out of his driveway and headed to work, Fessenden-Grace activated his department-issued mobile data terminal in order to get a head start on the day’s bulletins. He had driven just 100 yards down the road when an active call appeared on the screen about a missing child in his neighborhood with the same description as the child he had just observed.

He turned around and proceeded back to his neighbor’s house, notifying dispatch that he believed he located the missing child. As he approached the home, he saw the child had left the front porch and was walking in the neighbor’s front yard.

The girl was returned to her parents unharmed. All in all, the child was located within 17 minutes from the time her parent became aware she was missing and six minutes after she was reported missing to police. In that short amount of time, the child had traveled 0.7 miles from her home before being located.

Fessenden-Grace’s attention to his surroundings and his commitment in using his mobile data terminal to review active calls while on his way to work prevented possible harm to the child and averted a potential major crisis.

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