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KPD Officers Respond to Several Opioid Overdoses, Recognized for Their Life-Saving Efforts

Posted December 20, 2021, 2:10 PM HST

The Kauaʿi Police Department recognized eight Officers of the Month during December’s Police Commission meeting held via teleconference on Dec. 17.

Officers Daniel Ball, Zachariah Smith, Christian Kaui, Desmond Thain, Creighton Tamagawa, Eric Higa and Steven Carvalho were recognized as November’s Officers of the Month, and Officer Blake Saito was recognized as December’s Officer of the Month.

November’s seven Officers of the Month were responsible for working as a team to help save the lives of four individuals. And December’s Officer of the Month was responsible for helping reunite a loved one with family members and subsequently saving their life.

“Every day, police officers have the potential to directly or indirectly save lives, and the actions of all the officers being recognized today have done just that,” said Chief of Police Todd G. Raybuck.

During the month of October, Kauaʿi police responded to four separate medical calls that were identified as opioid overdoses. The actions taken by Ball, Smith, Kaui, Thain, Tamagawa, Higa and Carvalho, had a direct impact on all four patients who have since made a full recovery.

Missing from photo: Officer Desmond Thain PC: Kauaʻ Police Department

“Often, police officers are the first on scene to an overdose,” said Raybuck. “Recognizing that an individual is suffering from an opioid overdose, and immediately providing medical attention, will impact whether the victim recovers or not.”

On Oct. 2 around 6:40 p.m., Ball, Smith and Kaui responded to a report of an unresponsive man in a public parking lot. Officers located the man who was seated in a vehicle with his head rolled back. The man was unresponsive, had shallow breathing and small pinpoint pupils. Officers recognized that the male was suffering from an opioid overdose and immediately acted. Officers administered multiple doses of Narcan and performed CPR on the man.

On October 21 around 11:50 a.m., Tamagawa and Higa responded to an unresponsive woman at a residence. The woman had shallow breathing and attempts to wake her up were unsuccessful. The Officers recognized that the woman was suffering from an opioid overdose and administered multiple doses of Narcan and began CPR.

Later in the day at around 4:30 p.m., Thain was the first officer on scene to a report of an unresponsive woman in a shopping center bathroom. The woman was located on the ground and had shallow breathing. Officer Thain recognized that the woman was suffering an opioid overdose and administered Narcan while Kauaʿi Fire Department personnel provided further medical assistance.

On Oct. 28 at around 12:20 p.m., Carvalho responded to an unresponsive man at a campsite. Officer Carvalho located the man who was purple in color and had shallow breathing. Officer Carvalho began CPR and administered multiple doses of Narcan.

“The decisive actions taken by these officers, along with the assistance of KFD and American Medical Response personnel, saved the lives of these four individuals,” said Raybuck.

December’s Officer of the Month, Saito, also conducted admirable actions during the month of October.

On Oct. 10, Saito met with a 34-year-old man who wanted to report losing his belongings after arriving on Kauaʿi three months prior with the intent of residing on the island. The man relayed that he was houseless and was having a difficult time.

Saito contacted the man’s mother, who resides in Florida. Saito learned that the man was suffering from recent personal trauma and had been missing for three months. His family members feared that he was deceased while his parents had been privately searching for him.

Saito assisted the family in acquiring money for the man to receive food and an airline ticket to Florida.

On Oct. 11, the man’s mother was reunited with her son. After a family intervention, the man agreed to enter a rehabilitation program where he is currently receiving help.

“Officer Saito made it possible for the man to reunite with his family and get the treatment he needs. His family wrote a letter to KPD thanking Officer Saito for giving the man the gift of a new life,” said Raybuck. “Officer Saito fully embraced the Spirit of Aloha.”

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