School resource officer honored with pancake award

Farberow: Last 5 years ‘the best job of my career, by far’

Police school resource officer Stuart Farberow (right) holds the School Resource Officer Mahalo Pancake Award he received at a Maui Crime Stoppers pancake appreciation breakfast for school resource officers Thursday at IHOP in Kahului. School resource officer Marvin Tevaga (left) received the award last year. The Maui News / LILA FUJIMOTO photo

KAHULUI — From his days as a patrol officer in Lahaina to his recent years as a school resource officer at Lahainaluna High School, Stuart Farberow has become a familiar face in the community.

“Most of you know who he is,” said Sgt. Terence Gomez, who on Thursday presented Farberow with the School Resource Officer Mahalo Pancake Award.

Gomez credited Farberow for “the amount of love and compassion” he shows in his job.

He received the award at a Maui Crime Stoppers pancake appreciation breakfast for school resource officers at IHOP in Kahului.

The officers are assigned to intermediate and high schools, not only investigating crimes but working to build relationships with students and address issues in schools.

“The program has evolved in so many different ways,” said Gomez, who supervises the school resource officers.

He said the Text-A-Tip confidential reporting program, which allows students and teachers to report problems, has prevented issues from developing.

Along with Farberow, the school resource officers recognized at the breakfast were Nichole Comilang at Lokelani Intermediate, Jonathan Honda at Maui High, Brandon Phillips at Iao Intermediate, Nephi Laga at Baldwin High, Ryan Nagata at Maui Waena Intermediate, Marvin Tevaga at King Kekaulike High and Frank “Keola” Abreu at Kalama Intermediate. 

Abreu, who is also part of the police Special Response Team, responded to a call in Kula last year when someone was threatening to commit suicide. After entering the residence, Abreu was helping with negotiations when the person tried to chamber a round in a firearm, Gomez said.

Abreu “stopped that from happening,” Gomez said.

Matt Stevenson, vice president of the Maui Crime Stoppers board, told the officers: “You can’t really measure the things you do and how you can help a kid just by talking to them, setting them straight, being a role model.”

Through its hotline at 242-6966, the nonprofit organization offers cash rewards for anonymous information leading to the arrest and indictment of people for felony crimes.

“Today is the epitome of the community coming together to address the issues,” Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu told the officers.

He said that 10 or 15 years ago, parents’ main concerns were making sure their children went to school, did their homework and stayed away from bullies.

“Now the challenges are far more,” Faaumu said.

After 24 years as a police officer, Farberow is retiring in December. He has spent most of his career in Lahaina but also worked on Molokai and for four months in Wailuku.

“It’s going to be a big loss for us,” Gomez said.

Tevaga recalled how he was applying to be a police officer 11 years ago when he went on a ride-along with Farberow.

They ended up being beat partners in Lahaina for a few years before both ended up working as school resource officers.

Tevaga recited a quote from Muhammad Ali: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”

“This guy paid a lot of rent,” Tevaga said of Farberow.

Farberow said the past five years as a school resource officer have been the “best job of my career, by far.”

“I was just glad I got the opportunity to do it,” he said. “I was accepted by the department and the Lahaina community.

“I wouldn’t trade Lahaina kids for any other school.”

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.

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