Taking a LEEP into a new adventure

Taking+a+LEEP+into+a+new+adventure+

Victoria Barayuga

The Law Enforcement Explorers Program has helped to shape the dreams and goals of many participants.

Thirteen people stood in front of the room, eager to begin their next step in the Honolulu Police Department Law Enforcement Explorers Program otherwise known as the LEEP. Among the 13 students was Harumi Akasaki, a full-time student interested in becoming an investigator. Not only does she spend majority of her weekends training for LEEP, but also finds time to dedicate herself to work, friends and family while still managing to maintain a 4.0 GPA.

“I was really nervous standing up in front of all the police officers, especially the chief of police,” Akasaki said. “This program has changed me in so many ways and I’ve discovered more of myself through the challenges LEEP has put me through. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be a part of this program and this is one of those times in my life when am I really proud of myself.”

The ceremony took place on Tuesday at the Ward Conference Center. The room started to fill with family and friends around 5:45 p.m. and the ceremony began at 6 p.m. Each promotional inductee joined the LEEP as an explorer and was now being honored to move up the ranking system.

When people join the LEEP, they begin as explorers. As an explorer, he or she attends community service events such as, helping with the Special Olympics or volunteering their time with charities. He or she also spends weekends training to become police officers by learning self-defense mechanisms, practicing how to clear rooms, and knowing what to do when faced in a position with an active shooter.

In order to be considered as candidate to be promoted, each person had to write a 2-page essay explaining what makes he or she more applicable than the others participants and goes through an intense interview with two detectives.

Akasaki, a sophomore at Chaminade University, joined the LEEP in August. During the promotional ceremony, she was promoted to becoming a lieutenant along with Gary Boyadjian. Eight of the 13 inductees were promoted to sergeants, two were promoted to captain and one inductee was promoted to major.

Harrison Ho, a 20 year old from Ewa Beach, was one of the two inductees who were promoted to become captain. The program has helped him in discovering more of what he wants out of life and where he wants to head with his future.

“It means a lot,” Ho said. “I like the responsibility and it helped me further my interest in HPD.”

Standing tall in their blue polo shirts and BDU’s, they waited anxiously for their names to be called. All 13 inductees took pride in receiving their certificate, handed to them by the chief of police Louis Kealoha, and smiled when they were given their ranking insignia.

“I look forward to being a guidance for the future explorers,” Akasaki said. “I hope that I can be an influence them as my leaders were to me.”