The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaii recognized Officer Blayne Matsui as “Officer of the Month” for March and Officer Bronson Kaliloa as “Officer of the Month” for April.
Matsui was honored for two separate traffic stops in February that led to arrests for various charges, including auto theft and bail jumping.
Kaliloa was honored for his role in the successful apprehension of a six-time convicted felon who was in possession of a loaded firearm. Both officers are assigned to the Puna District. On the morning of Feb. 14, Matsui was patrolling Highway 11 above Mountain View when he noticed a suspicious flatbed truck backing up to a pile of gravel used by the State Highways Division for road maintenance.
He initiated a traffic stop on the truck and discovered that the occupant had an outstanding no-bail bench warrant. He investigated and found that the vehicle had been reported stolen several months earlier during a burglary in Ka‘u. Matsui arrested the suspect. The stolen truck was recovered and returned to its owner and detectives were later assigned to follow up on felony charges.
Four days later, while on patrol before dawn in an isolated area of Hawaiian Acres, Officer Matsui initiated a traffic stop on a car with an expired registration and safety sticker. As the car stopped, the front passenger jumped out and fled on foot. Matsui detained the driver and another passenger and learned that the driver had an outstanding $50,000 bail bench warrant. He placed the driver under arrest. He later also issued him numerous traffic citations.
In addition to these traffic stops that illustrate Matsui’s awareness, initiative and ability to spot suspicious activity, he has also displayed his dedication to duty by having perfect attendance over the past year, said Sgt. William Derr, who nominated Matsui for the award.
Kaliloa’s case took place on April 2. Shortly after midnight on on that date, Puna Patrol officers responded to a home in the Makuu Hawaiian Homes subdivision on a report of a man brandishing a rifle and discharging it into the air. Upon arrival at the scene, a woman informed officers that the unknown man had come onto the property with what appeared to be a rifle and said he was looking for another individual.
He shot one round into the air and fled on foot prior to police arrival. Officers made extensive checks in the surrounding area but were unable to immediately locate the suspect. Around 4 a.m. that morning, officers were summoned back to property after the woman called to report that the man had returned and was now throwing rocks at her house.
While searching for the suspect on foot, Kaliloa heard noises and movement in the heavy brush area behind the woman’s house. As he went to investigate the source of the sound, he detected a freshly used trail. He and another officer then made further checks in the darkened area and discovered a man hiding in heavy brush. Immediately after ordering him out of the brush and securing him, Kaliloa located a loaded sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun on the ground near where the man had been hiding. The suspect appeared to be under the influence of some type of illicit drug, which could have escalated the situation and presented greater risks to the officers.
The suspect was arrested and later charged with six firearm offenses, three of which were felonies. His bail was set at $63,000. According to Sergeant Daylan Asuncion, who nominated Kaliloa for the award, his superb investigative skills in capturing a dangerous convicted felon with a loaded firearm prevented a potentially violent end to the incident. As “Officer of the Month,” Matsui and Kalilo are each eligible for “Officer of the Year.”