Thanks, Junior Police

LIHUE — Some of these kids have never ridden an escalator before, said Trisha Page, special events and bookings manager at the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club Thursday morning.

“We put an attendant at the escalator to ensure that everyone was safe,” Page said.

The Kauai Marriott was one of the big helpers with the Kauai Police Department in hosting about 275 Junior Police Officers who were treated to a movie in the resort’s grand ballroom, followed by lunch.

“We couldn’t have done this without them,” said KPD Sgt. Jason Overmyer while distributing lunches to the seemingly unending line of enthusiastic elementary school students who had just finished enjoying a Disney movie. “This was a tremendous help.”

Page said it started with a request from Kaupena Kinimaka inquiring about what was scheduled for Thursday.

“Nothing,” Page said. “We were just setting up. When Kaupena asked if we could do this, it was automatic because we were doing it for the kids.”

KPD Lt. Jon Takamura said not only did the Kauai Marriott provide the space, the bus transportation needed to bring JPOs from Kilauea to the Westside was also gratis.

“JPOs provide a valuable service to the schools and helps the department,” Takamura said. “We didn’t have an appreciation event last year, but this year, with the help of the department and all of these community businesses, we could say ‘thank you’ for the work they do throughout the school year.”

JPO help with traffic flow inside the school grounds, and also help students in getting in and out of cars.

“We keep them inside the school grounds for safety,” Takamura said.

Kauai Police Chief Darryl Perry wanted to know where the group from Kalaheo Elementary School was seated.

“I graduated from there,” he said, triggering loud cheer from the group led by Laine Griffith. “When you see a police officer, go up to him, or her, and thank them, or wish them a good day — with a smile.”

Takamura said most of the elementary schools have JPO programs with the largest corps, 65, being the King Kaumualii Elementary School.

“Hanalei Elementary School does not have a program, and the farthest school on the North Shore is Kilauea Elementary School,” Takamura said. “Kekaha Elementary School is looking into starting a JPO program, possibly as soon as the fall when school resumes.”

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