The Kona Crime Prevention Committee recognized Officer Randy Morris as “Officer of the Month” for December in a luncheon ceremony Wednesday at Huggo’s restaurant in Kailua-Kona.
Morris, a HI-PAL officer in Kona, was honored for an arrest that police credit with curtailing a spike in burglaries in West Hawaii.
During August and September police responded to the rash of burglaries by forming a special task force to identify and locate burglary suspects. Although Morris was not a part of that task force, he made it a point to educate himself about the known suspects. One of them was Ryan Jeffries-Hamar, 31, who was also wanted for escape from Hale Nani Correctional Facility in Hilo and was considered armed and dangerous.
Morris was pulling into a gas station while off duty and recognized Jeffries-Hamar at one of the pumps. He confronted the suspect, who ran away. Without hesitation, Morris followed and was able to apprehend the suspect after a 50-yard foot chase.
With the assistance of the Criminal Investigations Section, Morris was able to recover 22 stolen items. After Jeffries-Hamar was taken into custody, the number of reported residential burglaries in Kona decreased by 90 percent. As “Officer of the Month,” Morris is eligible to become “Officer of the Year.”
Jeffries-Hamar escaped again on Wednesday morning. He was one of two inmates who escaped from Hawaii Community Correctional Center and was the subject of an intensive manhunt in Hilo.