LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - LIHU'E – The Kaua'i Police Department held its 85th Police Recruit graduation ceremony on Friday, Nov. 7 at the Kaua'i Beach Resort Jasmine Ballroom.
Deputy Police Chief Michael Contrades introduced the nine newly sworn-in police officers: Kristopher Breyer; Mitchell Collier; Melissa Kiser; Richard Love; Katharine Mesanko; Blake Moura; Clayton Silva, Jr.; Matthew Tavares; and Chantel Villatora.
Special awards were also presented to several of the new officers.
Melissa Kiser was awarded the Physical Fitness Award for having shown the most improvement over the course of the training.
Kristopher Breyer was honored with the Top Shot Award for demonstrating an outstanding level of firearms proficiency and technical abilities.
The Academic Award was given to Chantel Villatora for scoring highest on all of the written exams.
Mitchell Collier was the recipient of the Leadership Award for his ability to unite the group by providing direction and a sense of purpose.
In his keynote address, State House Representative Derek Kawakami focused on the bond the group formed during the course of their training. Quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, Kawakami reiterated that "friendship is the inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you." Kawakami encouraged the group to fall back on their friendships as they continue on in their law enforcement careers.
"As a police officer, you will be subject to criticism more than gratitude, but you must not let that discourage you from always doing your best," encouraged Police Chief Darryl Perry. "Stay true to yourself and the mission of the department, and let that guide you in making a positive difference in our community."
Other guest speakers included Beth Tokioka on behalf of Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr., as well as Councilmember Mel Rapozo and Police Commission Chair Charlie Iona.
Community Relations Sgt. Rod Green was the Master of Ceremony. The invocation was offered by Police Chaplain Alpha Goto, and the Honorable Judge Randall Valenciano conducted the swearing-in of officers, which was followed by the pinning of the badges.
The police recruit graduation ceremony is the culmination of six months and over 1,400 hours 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, they will become full-fledged officers.
For more information on becoming a Kaua'i police officer, visit KPD's website at www.kauai.gov/police or call 241-1669.