KPD honors 93rd Police Recruit Class graduates

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    93rd Police Recruit Class graduate Maria Esaki takes the Oath of Office, Tuesday during the 93rd Police Recruit Class graduation. Esaki was announced as the co-sharer of the class’s Physical Fitness Award with Desmond Thain.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    93rd Police Recruit Class graduate Desmond Thain receives his bade from Kaua‘i Police Chief Todd Raybuck, Tuesday during the class’s graduation ceremony. Thain was announced as the co-sharer of the Physical Fitness award with Maria Esaki.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    93rd Police Recruit Class graduate Christian Haegg receives his badge from Kaua‘i Police Chief Todd Raybuck, Tuesday during the class’s graduation ceremony. Haegg was also announced as the class’s Marksmanship award winner.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kaua‘i Police Dept. officer Derrick Kelly pins the badge on his son, Winford Larue, Tuesday during the graduation of the 93rd Police Recruit Class. Larue was also announced as the Most Outstanding in the class of seven.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kaua‘i Police Chief Todd Raybuck, far right, and Capt. Mark Ozaki, far left, and Lt. Kenneth Cummings present the graduates (new KPD officers) of the 93rd Police Recruit Class, Tuesday, including Zachariah D. Smith, Christian Haegg, Derek L. Leyendeckers, Jon D. Garcia, Maria G. Esaki, Desmond K. Thain, and Winford T. LaRue.

LIHU‘E — The Kaua‘i Police Department held a small, socially distanced ceremony on Tuesday for its 93rd Police Recruit Class graduates.

Maria Gabi Esaki, Jon Garcia Jr., Christian Haegg, Winford LaRue, Derek Leyendeckers, Zachariah Smith and Desmond Thain were announced as the department’s 93rd Recruit Class in the company of their immediate household family members, a few of KPD’s commanders, as well as special guests including Mayor Derek S. K. Kawakami, who was a guest speaker, Kaua‘i County Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro, Kaua‘i County Council Public Safety Chair Felicia Cowden and Kaua‘i Police Commission Chair Roy Morita.

“Mahalo and congratulations to the 93rd KPD Recruit Class,” Kawakami said. “Choosing to put yourself before others is essential for the safety and well-being of our island. I commend the graduates and their families for their commitment and sacrifice to serve and protect our residents and visitors.”

Lt. Kenneth P. K. Cummings served as the Master of Ceremonies, and Chief of Police Todd G. Raybuck expressed congratulatory remarks at Tuesday’s outdoor ceremony at KPD headquarters in Lihu‘e.

“Today is an exciting day, not just for you because you are being sworn in as police officers, but also for your families and for me as the Police Chief,” Raybuck said. “One of the greatest honors bestowed upon me is to present you with your badge and swear you in. The badge you receive today is a symbol of honor, pride and authority. Being a police officer is a commitment to serve others, to strengthen relationships with those we work alongside and those we serve, and to focus our efforts toward enhancing the quality of life for the community we serve. It is your duty to earn and maintain the respect of our community.”

Special awards were presented to four recruits during the ceremony.

Esaki and Thain were tied and both received the Physical Fitness Award for demonstrating a high level of physical abilities on a consistent basis during their training. Haegg received the Marksmanship Award for an outstanding skill level in firearms proficiency and safe handling. LaRue was honored as the Most Outstanding Recruit for excelling in all areas of the rigorous training while building camaraderie in the group.

The graduation began with an invocation by Police Chaplain Kevin Cram and concluded with the ceremonial pinning of badges by household family members, followed by the recruits taking a police officer oath in front of the audience.

During the ceremony, the recruits expressed gratitude toward their families and fellow classmates for their support, as well as their training cadre, including retired Lieutenant Todd Tanaka, Sergeant Alan Santella and Sergeant Len Nitta, for their wealth of knowledge and expertise.

The ceremony was made possible by the collective efforts of several individuals within the department, such as Lt. Cummings, Sergeant Darla Nonaka, Sergeant Lance Okasaki and Officer Morris Unutoa.

The police recruit graduation ceremony is the culmination of six months of classroom and reality-based training.

Following graduation, each police services officer was assigned a field training officer to shadow for the next four months. Upon successful completion of the 16-week program, the officers will be released from training to assume patrol assignments.

  1. Diversity December 17, 2020 4:29 am Reply

    I like the diversity in this class instead of keeping it local.

    I see a dirty kpd cop is listed in the article. Very dangerous person that should be investigated for public corruption.

    You know who he is.

    1. Jeff S. December 17, 2020 8:30 pm Reply

      I didn’t know the mayor was once a police officer.

  2. Tried December 18, 2020 8:10 pm Reply

    Another cops name associated with his son who is also a kpd cop that tried to set up a DUI like they did Bonachita.

    I believe this is one of the most played out public corruption kpd uses.

    They’ve tried it over 10 times the dirty cop listed in the article even went to where every cop goes to kick back a few and saw I took one sip and laughed at their plan.

    While they had at least 3-5 cops stalking and used 3 conspirators for the set up.

  3. Attempted December 18, 2020 8:23 pm Reply

    Another dirty former cop tried to set me up to get murdered at Anahola beach like Aurero Moore was set up.

    The same people who set up that murder has tried that same plan on several occasions.

    This is connected to kpd and the prosecutors office.

    Public corruption greater than the Kealoha’s right there on Kauai.

  4. Mayer December 18, 2020 8:27 pm Reply

    The mayor is a trick. Pulled a beer gate with former coworkers to…

    You know the Chiba story and his connection to the Mayor.

    Public Corruption through Retaliation.

  5. Unseen December 18, 2020 8:31 pm Reply

    Unseen is the truth about the story behind the death of 4 people at the Kealia lookout.

    KPD Public Corruption

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