On July 17, Officer Bronson K. Kaliloa of the Hawai’i County Police Department conducted a high-risk traffic stop of a wanted subject on Highway 11, in Kukui Camp Road, Mountain View. Officer Kaliloa was shot in the neck and leg by the wanted subject; he was transported to the Hilo Medical Center where he succumbed to his wounds shortly after midnight on July 18. Officer Kaliloa served with Hawai’i County Police Department for 10 years. He is survived by his wife and three young children.
First, let me begin this post by saying how incredibly devastating the death of a law enforcement officer is—To serve and protect citizens, the whole community, and to be killed because of it. And no, I’m not putting law enforcement on a pedestal, but it’s a simple fact: They serve and protect the community as much as any human tasked with that great responsibility is able to, regardless of who “hates” them or how dangerous the subject/situation is; they do it every single day. I work in law enforcement. My father is career law enforcement. I work with law enforcement professionals from all agencies. The job does require dealing with combative subjects and a dangerous environment; it’s part of the job. However, the goal is to go home at the end of the day, and when one of your own is killed by an individual who simply couldn’t abide by the law, it hits hard. It’s difficult. It’s sad. It makes you angry—But you still believe in what you’re representing and you still care. Therefore, you go back out there and do your job. Once again, it’s incredibly devastating the death of a law enforcement officer.
Officer Kaliloa was the first Big Island police officer to be murdered while making a traffic stop—This has never happened here. When I worked as a PIO/News Reporter for a non-profit organization back in 2016, I covered over a hundred law enforcement deaths, but it was never this close to home.
Yesterday Officer Kaliloa was laid to rest. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend his funeral. However, I was able to watch it live from Nā Leo TV and Hawaii News Now. The show of support from the general public and the amount of law enforcement from all over the United States, not just Hawaii’s agencies, that paid their respects to Officer Kaliloa was absolutely heartwarming—It was amazing to see. Law enforcement all the way from New York came to Hilo’s Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. Citizens lined the streets as the funeral procession drove by. The flags were ordered to fly at half-staff. Thousands of people came to give a proper send-off to an individual who served his community and served it well.
I can’t begin to imagine what Officer Kaliloa’s wife, children, and department have been going through. From what I’ve heard from those who served with him, and from what is already evident, he was the type of person that not only cared about his job/role as a police officer, but he also cared about others.
Officer Kaliloa, you were an incredible human being. You will be sorely missed.