Bronson Kaliloa knew the dangers of the job, but he loved being a police officer because it gave him the chance to help others.
That’s according to family and friends, who say he felt it was his duty to serve.
Bronson Kaliloa grew up on Kauai and graduated from Waimea High School in 1990.
After spending several years on Oahu as a city bus driver, he moved to Hawaii island, where he became a police officer in 2008.
His father says Kaliloa always felt it was his duty to serve, especially the Puna community. In 2014, he was name the Puna patrol Officer of the Year.
Kale Gumapac, a family friend, says Kaliloa also showed his compassion for others when lava started to erupt in Pahoa. He was stationed at the checkpoints and always went out of his way to help.
“There’s a lot of aloha that went out to him from all the people that had any contact with him during the eruption,” Gumapac said. “They really, really liked him, and like I said, it’s a loss to the community that we lose a young man with so much aloha for the community.”
His family also released a statement that said:
“Bronson Kaliloa loved the Lord with all his heart and in his image he was a Proud Father of 3, ages 7, 4 and 3, an Adoring and Loving Husband and Devoted Son.
Passionate about serving his Lord and Community, he was always making sure people felt loved and respected.
He’ll leave his family and friends a true example of one who unconditionally loves.”
Hawaii island mayor Harry Kim remembers Kaliloa as “one of those guys that the face always smiles at you. That’s who he is.
“This is really impacting officers who knew him, those in the community who know him, and this was a very good person, never mind a good officer. He was just a good person,” he added.
Malcolm Lutu, president of SHOPO, the police officers’ union, says the tragedy affects every officer and their family.
“When it happens here, especially one of our own officers, even though it’s a different island, we’re all in the same union. We do the same job, so it hits home,” Lutu said.
Susan Ballard, chief of the Honolulu Police Department, said in a statement:
“The men and women of the Honolulu Police Department extend our deepest condolences and sympathy to the family of Officer Kaliloa and our brothers and sisters in the Hawaii Police Department. We are one family, connected by blood and by profession. The Big Island’s loss is a loss to all of Hawaii.”
In addition to his three children, Kaliloa leaves behind a wife, his parents, and a younger brother. He had a younger sister who died as a teenager due to her health.