The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized Puna Patrol Officer Paul Wright on Thursday as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for November.
On September 11, Officer Wright was patrolling a Mountain View subdivision that had been frequented by auto thieves when he received information about a suspicious vehicle in the area. The vehicle was subsequently spotted in the distance traveling on a makeshift vehicle path across vacant properties created to facilitate “backroad” travel between two upper Puna subdivisions.
Reaching a point where the terrain was no longer negotiable in his patrol vehicle, Officer Wright parked and continued walking the path on foot in the direction of the vehicle. He could hear the truck’s engine revving as it sped further away from him into the woods and out of view, then hearing what sounded like a crash. Running toward the area where he had last seen the pickup truck Officer Wright and a fellow officer came upon the pickup laying on its side after colliding with an embankment, the engine was still running and two occupants were quickly exiting and attempting to flee.
Officer Wright and a fellow officer were able to run down and catch both occupants, the vehicle was determined to be stolen and found to contain dried marijuana and a set of brass knuckles.
On October 15, Officer Wright investigated a theft from a locked shipping container in Eden Roc where solar panels, lumber, and a water tank were stolen. While conducting the investigation he learned that a group of people had been previously observed casing the property and was able to obtain surveillance camera footage that depicted the suspects and a vehicle.
Acting on a tip for a possible suspect residence in Fern Acres, he proceeds to that area and located the stolen solar panels along with several of the suspects captured on the video as being involved in the crime.
Officer Wright was nominated for the award by Sergeant Juergen Canda who stated: “the initiative displayed by Officer Wright in both these cases is indicative of his dedication to duty.”
As “Officer of the Month”, Officer Wright is eligible for “Officer of the Year”
The East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” award is a project of the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi
HPD provided image.