Junior Police Officer of the Year awards go to students from elementary schools

Elementary school students were recognized for their work as junior police officers in the program that has expanded to include the new Pu’u Kukui school in Maui Lani.

At the annual JPO picnic May 6 at the Kahului Community Center, awards for JPO of the Year were presented to six students. The awards went to Victoria Awai of Pu’u Kukui, William Faris of Kula Elementary, Tyeisha-Shaylis Takamori of Waihee Elementary, Tyler Gordley of Pukalani Elementary and Holly Christine-Ramos and Angelo Sijalbo of Lihikai Elementary.

About 150 students, most of them 5th-graders, attended the event that included games, entertainment and lunch. Another 20 students are JPOs at Molokai Elementary, which joined the program last year.

The students volunteer before and after school to help younger students stay safe and cross in school parking lots, said Maui police traffic investigator Jonathan Kaneshiro, who is police coordinator of the JPO program.

At Pu’u Kukui, which opened in July, the JPO program began in February. The six JPOs at the school include 4th-graders because the school has only two 5th-grade classes, said school JPO coordinator Trudi Ah Sam. “They have to report for duty every single day,” she said. “They don’t get a break.”