March ‘Officer of the Month’ Named in Officer Mata

Officer Kupono Mata, a 6-year police veteran, has been recognized as the Aloha Exchange Club Officer of the Month for March 2017. This is due to his outstanding performance both as a solo patrolman and more recently as a Field Training Officer. He serves as a “role model” for new officers by his consistent dedication to police work, investigative skill, and quick reactions during evolving volatile situations that bring them to a conclusion.

On August 12, 2016 at 12:30 p.m., Officer Mata and other officers encountered a 72-year-old male at his residence yelling that he wanted to die and telling officers to shoot him. Officer Mata immediately responded and subdued the man safely bringing an end to a potentially deadly situation.

On December 9, 2016 at about 11:00 a.m. Officer Mata and his re cruit responded to a domestic call in the Mountain View area. Upon arrival the situation had calmed down and it did not appear there was a criminal case to be made, however while talking to a female at the front of the property Officer Mata heard a vehicle start-up from an area behind the house. He proceeded to that location and found a 21-year-old male party who had been involved in the argument attempting to leave in a pickup truck. Officer Mata directed his recruit officer to check the license plate number of this vehicle with dispatch on the random hunch that it could be stolen. Dispatch confirmed that the truck was indeed stolen in November 2016 from a Hilo fuel station parking lot. The suspect was subsequently arrested and the 1991 Mazda truck recovered.

Later that same afternoon at approximately 4 p.m. Officer Mata and his assigned recruit had completed their shift but were still working on finishing up reports from that day. Officer Mata overheard officers on the radio making checks for a stabbing suspect operating a stolen vehicle who was observed traveling recklessly through the Puna district at a high rate of speed. Officer Mata realizing the dangerous nature of the call took the initiative and self-assigned himself and his recruit to assist other on-duty officers by making checks on Highway 11 and Highway 130 in the Keaʻau area. While conducting these checks Officer Mata spots the suspect on the shoulder of the road using a gas can to refuel the stolen Nissan pickup truck and broadcasts the information to fellow officers. The suspect seeing the police re-enters the vehicle and attempts to flee as Officer Mata and other officers converge on him. As Officer Mata makes an attempt to stop the vehicle the suspect guns the engine as Officer Mata grabs him and nearly falls from the moving vehicle (putting himself at the risk of being run over). The suspect is finally stopped and apprehended.

On December 13, 2016, Officer Mata takes a felony report of thefts from a business that occurred over a 2-year-period, suspected to have been committed by a fired employee. The victim also relates that he has information that much of his stolen equipment, including a Caterpillar bobcat and a trailer, are located on a property in Mountain View. Officer Mata proceeds to the Mountain View location and is able to obtain a visual from the roadway of the suspected stolen items. Officer Mata obtains a Search Warrant, and serves it later that evening. As a direct result of Officer Mata’s efforts machinery and equipment having an estimated value exceeding $35,000 are recovered.

Officer Kupono Mata on a daily basis displays his dedication to the profession, maintaining perfect attendance for the last year and a half period. Officer Mata’s consistent actions and work ethic embodies the Hawaii Police Department Core Values of Integrity, Professionalism, Compassion, Teamwork, and Community Satisfaction.