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Ka‘ū Top Enforcer and Officer of the Year Honored

by Thunda

The Hawai‘i Police Department is pleased to announce that two Ka‘ū District officers were recently recognized as 2023 “Ka‘ū Officer of the Year” and “Ka‘ū Top Enforcer”. Officer Rodney Kekaualua Jr. received the Officer of the Year award and Officer Jenna Kosinski-Santos received the Top Enforcer award during a ceremony on Saturday, December 9, 2023, in Nā‘ālehu.

The awards are the first in the department’s 80-year history to be specifically bestowed on Ka‘ū officers and are similar to Officer of the Month and Officer of the Quarter awards issued by various organizations in other parts of the island.

“On behalf of the entire department, I am proud of the work Officers Kekaualua Jr. and Kosinski-Santos are doing,” said Chief Benjamin Moszkowicz. “Their joint commitment to serving and protecting the Nā‘ālehu community in the spirit of aloha is a model for officers island-wide.“

The Ka‘ū Officer of the Year award is determined by a vote of all officers in the district. “This provides the officers the opportunity to decide who amongst them, in their opinion, deserves the nomination,” said Acting Captain Pernell Hanoa, commander of the Ka‘ū District. “It really speaks volumes to not only an officer’s work ethic, but also to his/her character.”

Officer Kekaualua Jr., a four-year-veteran of the department was nominated by his peers as the district’s inaugural Officer of the Year. He has worked in the Ka‘ū district since graduating the police academy in 2020. “Officer Kekaualua is a humble person with a positive attitude and outstanding dedication,” said Acting Captain Hanoa.

The Ka‘ū Top Enforcer award is presented to the officer who has shown the greatest initiative in enforcing traffic and criminal laws throughout the year based on statistical data. Officer Jenna Kosinski-Santos, was recognized as the district’s first “Top Enforcer”. A five-year veteran of the department, Officer Kosinski-Santos has served the Ka‘ū community since 2021.

“She’s a pro-active officer who has a gift of motivating those around her,” said Acting Captain Hanoa, noting that this is not Kosinski-Santos’ first time being recognized. She received the Kona Crime Prevention Committee Officer of the Month award in December 2020 for responding to a fatal traffic collision while off duty, and the Hawai‘i County Council Haweo award in May 2022 for rescuing an elderly man trapped in a vehicle.   

“In addition to recognizing our officers, I’d like to convey our appreciation to the Ka‘ū community,” said Acting Captain Hanoa. “The support we’ve received and continue to be blessed with from our residents and local businesses is incredible.”

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