Hurtful and shameful. That’s what some are saying about a case of vandalism here on Oahu. The Hawaii Law Enforcement Memorial was tagged over the weekend. 65 officers are remembered here.
Kurt Kendro is the president of the Hawaii Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation. He tells us this is the second time this memorial has been vandalized. The first was back in 2016.
“It’s just a shame. It’s really horrifying to think that someone would do this,” said Kendro. “This hurts our community because these are law enforcement officers from across the state that has served their communities, made the ultimate sacrifice for their communities, and given their lives to protect their communities.”
With cleaning supplies at hand, Kendro was able to wipe some of the paint off but says the emblems have permanent damage. Not too far from the memorial is the Gannenmono Commemorative Monument. It’s right in front of Honolulu Hale and it was also tagged.
Michael Kitchens is the founder of Stolen Stuff Hawaii, which is a social media platform that highlights criminal activity. He says vandalism is common.
“When it happens to memorials that’s kind of a big deal because it’s a direct insult to them. What values are the people that do that sort of thing What do they follow? It’s pretty obvious that if you vandalize a memorial, you know you don’t have any respect. You don’t have any ethics,” said Kitchens.
The crime in Hawaii that officials see go beyond that. Kendro, who is also a retired Honolulu Police Major, tells us he has seen an increase and disregard for authority and law enforcement.
“It’s unfortunate that’s it’s coming to Hawaii, but we see repeatedly coming back to Hawaii, increase crimes against law enforcement, shooting at law enforcement officers, and there are people trying to run down law enforcement officers,” said Kendro.
However, there may be something that can be done and it starts with us.
“It really comes down to the community and being involved in what’s going on in your community. You are seeing something wrong like people vandalizing a memorial, vandalizing a school, call the police,” said Kendro.
“I think it’s really important that we pay attention to our children because they are our future. If you don’t take care of them, you don’t teach them respect and don’t teach them morals and ethics, then they’re just going to continue to grow the way they are going to grow and sometimes that means crime,” said Kitchens.