PSD NEWS RELEASE – State Sheriffs honored with lifesaving, merit & leadership awards.

Posted on May 19, 2023 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

HONOLULU –The Department of Public Safety (PSD) Sheriff Division held its inaugural Sheriff Division Meritorious Awards and Leadership/Special Skills Award ceremony at the State Capitol auditorium today.


This ceremony is expected to become an annual event during Police Week, where the special achievements of deputies and civilian staff are celebrated. This year’s focus was on the presentation of two lifesaving medals, a leadership award, and several distinctive skills awards for instruction, drug recognition expertise, medical support, canine handling, tactical operations, and peer support.


This is an employee-generated awards program in which any department employee may nominate another eligible department employee or work group. The Employee Recognition Committee reviews the nominations and selects the award recipients each year. Uniformed law enforcement will wear the insignia award on their uniform.


“I believe in recognizing our uniform and civilian staff for their meritorious actions, leadership, and outstanding efforts to serve our community and their law enforcement colleagues,” said Public Safety Director Tommy Johnson. “I would like to take this moment to extend my sincerest thank you to these employees. They exemplify what everyone strives to be when they join a law enforcement agency”.

Lifesaving Medal

Deputy Sheriff Joshua Grilho

On August 5, 2021, Deputy Sheriff Joshua Grilho was assigned to the Sheriff Division Airport Section third watch. On that day at about 5:00 p.m., Deputy Grilho responded to an officer in distress radio transmission from fellow deputy sheriff. The deputy was attacked by a man who was wanted on multiple felony warrants. The male suspect struck the deputy in the head multiple times with a hard object causing heavy bleeding. In fear for his life, as he started to lose consciousness, the deputy shot the assailant in the leg. Upon arrival at the scene, Deputy Grilho observed his fellow deputy hunched over near a fire hydrant, dazed and unresponsive, and bleeding from his head. While trying to aid his colleague, Deputy Grilho noticed him nod towards a male subject who was limping away from the scene. Deputy Grilho followed him and ordered him to stop. The suspect complied and sat on the sidewalk. During this time, he laid back on the sidewalk and appeared to pass out. Deputy Grilho issued a tourniquet to the suspects leg to stop the bleeding and revived the suspect. The suspect was transported to the hospital in critical condition. Later, one of the hospital doctors said that the tourniquet saved the suspects’ life. The suspect was later arrested on the outstanding felony warrants and for assaulting a law enforcement officer.


Deputy Joshua Grilho’s actions saved the life of the suspect and possibly the life of his fellow deputy and that is why he was recommended for the Sheriff Division Lifesaving Medal.


Deputy Sheriff Steve Miyamoto

On February 21, 2022, Deputy Sheriff Steve Miyamoto was assigned to the Sheriff Division Airport Section’s second watch. On that day at about 11:50 a.m., Deputy Miyamoto was dispatched to a service call related to a report of a male who had fallen and hit his head. Upon arriving on the scene, Miyamoto observed an elderly male lying face down at the bottom of an escalator. The male had deep lacerations to his head and appeared unconscious and not breathing. Deputy Miyamoto checked the victim’s pulse and determined the male to be suffering from possible cardiac arrest. Deputy Miyamoto radioed for an ambulance and immediately began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Approximately three minutes later, AMR medic supervisor, Dennis Ma’ele, was driving by the location and observed the actions of Deputy Miyamoto.  Ma’ele stopped his vehicle and assisted Miyamoto. Deputy Miyamoto continued chest compressions until an AMR ambulance arrived on scene at about 12:02 p.m. While at the scene, an Allied Security law enforcement officer arrived to assist until they were relieved by Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF).

Deputy Miyamoto’s actions contributed to the patient regaining a pulse and blood pressure. Deputy Miyamoto’s early recognition of the cardiac arrest, repositioning of the victim, and performance of CPR saved the life of the victim.


Leadership Awards

FBI National Academy (FBI NA) Distinctive Insignia – Presented to those who have successfully completed the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy.

The following deputies received the FBI NA Leadership Insignia:

Lt. Shawn Tsuha (FBI NA Session 234 – 6/6/2008 to 9/12/2008)

Lt. Michael DeCenzo (FBI NA Session 241 – 4/2/2010 to 6/18/2010)

Chief Deputy Lanikoa Dobrowolsky (FBI NA Session 256 – 1/20/1024 to 3/28/2014)

Lt. Lane Martin (FBI NA Session 266 – 9/30/2016 to 12/16/2016)

Lt. Jeffrey Piimauna (FBI NA Session 269 – 7/10/2017 to 9/15/2017)

Lt. Geoffrey Hicks (FBI NA Session 285 – 1/9/2023 to 3/16/2023 – Lt. Hicks is stationed on Maui and will be hand delivered and awarded in front of his peers at a later date.)

Distinctive Skills Insignia (DSI)

Instructor – Worn by any sworn member that is certified as a law enforcement Instructor through the training academy. The deputy must also be trained and certified to instruct within a discipline such as defensive tactics, firearms, less lethal, etc., and is actively being utilized in this capacity by the law enforcement division.

The following deputies will receive the Instructor DSI:

Lt. Lane Martin

Sgt. Charles Hartman

Sgt. Blair Wulfert

Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) – Worn by any sworn member that is actively being utilized as a DRE by the law enforcement division. The deputy/officer must successfully complete the initial training and maintain all perquisites to hold the DRE certification and currencies. This insignia is worn only by personnel who are current and certified.

The following deputies will receive the DRE DSI:

Sgt. Kalani Jaentsch

Sgt. Brandon Mariano-Torres

Deputy Rodolfo Sebastian

Deputy Matthew Vasconcelles

First Responder/Tactical Emergency Medical – Worn by sworn law enforcement members who have a current certification as Mobile Intensive Care Technicians (MICT), Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), Medical Response Technicians (MRT), or have attended and successfully completed a Tactical Emergency Medical (TEMS) course. Awardees must maintain annual recertification requirements to retain the distinctive insignia. Deputies qualified as EMTs, or Tactical Medics, will automatically maintain the wearing of insignia after 10 consecutive years of certification.

The following deputies will receive the First Responder/Medical Support DSI:

Deputy Dan Kuwahara

Deputy Alvin Turla

Canine Handler – Worn by deputies who have been certified as a canine handler under the department master trainer or equivalent. To continue wearing the insignia, deputies must maintain all canine-related certifications annually.

The following deputies will receive the Canine Handler DSI:

Deputy James Aipoalani

Deputy Paul Ano

Deputy James Barnes

Deputy Rollins Canon

Deputy Charles Lacaden

Deputy Patrick Lewis

Deputy Greggory Mayo

Deputy William Mikolajczyk

Deputy Helen Shiroma-Kauahi

Deputy Sean Springer

Sgt. Edward Stankos

Deputy Robert Umiamaka

Tactical Operations – Worn by any member that is in good standing as a member of the Sheriff Rapid Enforcement and Counter Terrorism Team (REACT). Deputy must have attended and successfully completed a formal out-service or in-service SWAT/Tactical Operations course equal to or greater than 120 hours, as well as participated in a minimum of 80 hours of additional in-service REACT training. Deputies must be qualified in all aspects of their REACT assignment including specialized weapon qualifications and physical fitness requirements. Deputies must be evaluated by their leaders as well as peers to qualify to wear this award. Deputies qualified under this program will automatically retain the privilege to wear this award after 10 consecutive years of re-certifications. This insignia will be worn above the longevity stars or centered above other awards or distinctive insignia on the uniform shirt.

The following deputies will receive the Tactical Operations DSI:

Deputy Paul Ano

Deputy Ernest Bautista

Deputy Rollins Canon

Deputy Gavin Ching

Lt. Michael DeCenzo

Chief Deputy Lanikoa Dobrowolsky

Deputy Deven English

Deputy Frank Fine

Deputy Michael Hirst

Deputy Adrian Kanoa

Deputy Dan Kuwahara

Deputy Christopher Lee

Deputy Joseph Lovell

Deputy Ryan Machado

Deputy Greggory Mayo

Sgt. Brandon Mokiao

Lt. Darryl Ng

Deputy Chon Peters

Lt. Jeffrey Piimauna

Deputy Brian Scanlan

Deputy Sean Springer

Deputy Aaron Wolfe

Peer Support – To earn this insignia, deputies must complete Crisis Intervention, Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), and Peer Support courses.

The following deputies will receive the Peer Support SSI (These deputies will receive the orders authorizing the wear of the DSI, but the insignia have not arrived on-island. They will receive the insignia immediately upon arrival.):

Deputy LoveleeMay Kaleikini

Sgt. Adrian Kanoa

Deputy Leedo Anderson (Dep. Anderson is stationed on Maui and will be hand delivered and awarded in front of his peers at a later date.)

Deputy John Mallari

Lt. Michael Oakland

Deputy. Erica Paredes

Deputy Steffano Quiacusan (Dep. Quiacusan is stationed in Hilo and will be hand delivered and awarded in front of his peers at a later date.)

Deputy Helen Shiroma-Kauahi

Deputy Alvin Turla

The department thanks all deputies and support staff who serve the community day after day. Congratulations to those being recognized.

(For reference: See the attached document that includes pictures and a description of the medal and insignia that were awarded.)


Pictures, video, and sound bites from today’s ceremony can be found here:

Toni Schwartz
Public Information Officer
Hawai‘i Department of Public Safety &

Hawai‘i  Department of Law Enforcement
Office: 808-587-1358
Cell: 808-683-5507
[email protected]