HILO, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thousands are preparing to say their final goodbyes to Hawaii County Police Officer Bronson Kaliloa who was shot and killed in the line of duty last month.
The turnout is expected to be so large, the family decided to move services from the mortuary to the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo on Saturday, August 4th.
Kaliloa, a 10-year veteran of the force, leaves behind his parents, his wife and three young children.
Hawaii County Police Chief Paul Ferreira said the outpouring of support helps him and his team get through the dark days.
"It does hurt, it does impact me. No chief ever wants to be the one to have an officer die under him," Ferreira said. "Somebody mentioned to me, saying it almost sounds like you're losing a son, and it pretty much does feel that way, because they're my responsibility, that's the way I look at it."
Kaliloa is the first Big Island police officer to die in the line of duty since 1997 and Ferreira said he's also the first to be shot and killed since 1918.
Three other county police departments will be represented, including 18 officers from Honolulu.
"Whether it happens in the mainland or here, it's always tragic. I mean these people leave behind wives, spouses, children, and he's gone," said HPD Deputy Chief John McCarthy.
Hawaiian Airlines gifted those 18 spots to HPD, along with 10 to the Maui Police Department and three to the Kauai Police Department.
"We extend our condolences to their family," said Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, director of community relations at Hawaiian Airlines. "By allowing other officers to go and stand in his honor, and recognize his sacrifice, we in some small way are vicariously lifting them up."
Those officers will be joined by federal law enforcement agencies and officers from Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Texas and Colorado.
"The support that we're getting, not only from across the state, but from across the nation is outstanding," Ferreria said. "And that has helped very much."