This week is Police Week, both here in Hawaii and across the nation.
It’s dedicated to honoring and remembering law enforcement officers who were killed while serving our community.
To date, 48 Honolulu police officers died in the line of duty, including Officer Troy Barboza.
This year marks 30 years since he was murdered by a drug dealer, just as his career was getting started.
“Troy was a great guy. The minute you met him, you wanted to be his friend,” said Barboza’s friend Kurt Kendro.
Kendro met Barboza in 1986. They were part of the Honolulu Police Department’s 92nd recruit class.
“He had personality, charisma. He was a comic. He was such a comedian in recruit school. He kept the 40 of us together, laughing and moving forward every day to become a Honolulu police officer,” Kendro said.
Barboza was awarded most outstanding recruit. He ended up joining the Alpha detail, now known today as the Crime Reduction Unit. It’s made up of plain clothes officers who sometimes go undercover.
“Troy made a drug buy at the intersection of Kalakaua and Lewers Street from a gang member from California who was trying to get his name in the crack cocaine business here in Hawaii. So that was in July of 1987,” Kendro said.
Barboza arrested the suspect, Tony Williams. Three months later, Williams, while out on bail, shot Barboza while he was sleeping at home in Manoa.
Williams is now serving a life sentence without parole for the murder.
“As a police officer, you expect to meet people that don’t like you on the streets, but when you’re at home in your sanctuary sleeping at home, you expect to be safe. And that case, Troy’s case, illustrated to law enforcement not only in Hawaii, but around the world how dangerous this job is,” Kendro said.
This week is dedicated to remembering the law enforcement officers, like Troy Barboza, who gave up their lives while trying to protect ours.
“We were young. We were 22 years old and Tony Williams took a life. He was a brother, a son, a friend,” Kendro said.
Kendro retired from HPD last year at the rank of major, and can’t help but think about all the things his buddy could have accomplished over the past 30 years.
“Not only as a police officer, but also as part of the community,” Kendro said.
Barboza coached Special Olympics athletes. He inspired and gave hope and opportunity to those with disabilities.
“That’s the kind of person Troy was,” Kendro said.
He is remembered every year at the start of the Special Olympics Summer Games in Hawaii.
A torch run is named in his honor. It draws hundreds of law enforcement officers together, and raises awareness about Special Olympics, and raises money for the athletes so that they can participate in sports free of charge.
“The third one is probably the most dear to me, is the fact that we remember Troy and what he did, not only as a police officer, but what he did as a Special Olympics coach and how he served his community,” Kendro said.
His life was lost, but certainly not forgotten.
This year’s torch run will be held on on Friday, June 2. It starts at Fort DeRussy in Waikiki and ends at Les Murakami Stadium on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus.