A number of Kauai Police Department officers and staff were commended by Mayor Bryan J. Baptiste, Jr. Thursday afternoon for their work in the recent Lihue Airport shooting incident as well as their response efforts to locate a missing person.
“Through the midst of a terroristic situation, these officers showed a level of dedication that we should all strive toward in our personal and professional lives,” Baptiste said of Sgt. Sylvester Oliveira and Officers Wes Kaui and James Miller, who were the lead responding officers at the scene.
Sgt. Sylvester Oliveira received three commendations Thursday, for his lead at Lihue Airport; for his work in helping lead a search party to find a man reported missing; and for May 2003 Officer of the Month.
The presentation for Officer of the Month was made by Hanalei District Lieutenant K.C. Lum. Sgt. Jon Takamura, director of the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, was also named as Officer of the Month, but he was unable to attend due to training on Oahu. Kaui and Miller were both unable to attend the ceremony because they were receiving departmental training sessions. Later, Police Chief George Freitas will present the two with their awards.
In the early evening of May 8, Oliveira was in the Lihue area when he heard the situation at the airport. Upon his arrival, it was discovered that a lone gunman armed with a 9 mm handgun, identified as Lloyd Albinio, Jr., had entered the high security area of the airport and had made it to Gate 6. He entered Gate 6 with officers Eric Kaui and James Miller, and struck up a conversation with the suspect, who was sitting in the floor with the gun pointed at his chin.
Oliveira’s calm demeanor defused a volatile situation, and as a result, the incident ended quickly and safely, Lum said. Albinio was arrested and faces federal charges and is being held without bail pending trial.
The next commendations were presented to Oliveira and Officers John Takiguchi and Shawn Smith and Missing Persons Coordinator Claire Ueno, who organized a search party to find David Koerte, Jr., who was reported missing by his son, Michael Koerte on May 14.
Michael wrote a a letter to Mayor Baptiste thanking the department for their compassion and aloha spirit in responding to the call. This letter was read by Lt. Fred DeBusca and the commendation was presented by Mayor Baptiste.
“The officers’ professionalism and concern for the man and his family was instrumental in helping them get though this ordeal.”
The KPD accessed the Hawaii Search Dog Team and Department of Land and Natural Resources for a one-day search that no one wanted to stop even after sunset, the letter read.
He was concerned for his father’s safety and health because he hadn’t been taking his diabetes medication and his sister had recently died. Koerte was spotted in Honolulu after The Garden Island published Koerte’s photograph.
Also, two women employed by Public Works were commended for their exemplary service to the KPD by placing potted plants and flowers in offices and public spaces in the new headquarters. Lt. Miles Tanabe said that he thought the County of Kauai was paying for them, but recently discovered that the decoration was paid for by Carol Maneja and Catalina Eresa.
“They go beyond what we expect as custodial staff. They always come to work wit ha cheerful attitude,” Tanabe said.
The commendations were presented at the police commission’s regular monthly meeting Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in the Historic County Building, Council Chambers.
Staff Writer Kendyce Manguchei can be reached at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or 245-3681 (ext. 252).