The Kona Crime Prevention Committee recognized Officer Nicholas McDaniel as “Officer of the Month” for January in a luncheon ceremony Wednesday at Huggo’s restaurant in Kailua-Kona.
McDaniel, one of the department’s newest officers, was honored for a traffic stop that led to 14 charges, including first-degree meth trafficking.
On Oct. 29, just after midnight, McDaniel observed a vehicle with a defective brake light and conducted a traffic stop on the woman driving it. While talking to the driver, he noticed a small plastic bag containing what he recognized as methamphetamine in the center console between the two front seats. He arrested the driver and obtained a search warrant for the car.
The search confirmed the presence of methamphetamine in the bag, along with additional methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, prescription pills, assorted drug paraphernalia, a blackjack and $688 in cash.
The woman was charged with 12 drug offenses, carrying a deadly weapon and driving under the influence of intoxicants. Her bail was set at $452,000.
Sgt. Grad Elarionoff, who recommended McDaniel for the award, noted that the officer’s investigation also linked the recovered cash to drugs, resulting in a forfeiture of the money.
“Officer McDaniel is one of the officers from the latest graduating recruit class and already he is showing confidence beyond his experience, from making arrests on initial observations to completing thorough and complex investigations with affidavits and arrest reports,” Elarionoff wrote in nomination papers.
As “Officer of the Month,” McDaniel is eligible to become “Officer of the Year.”