‘Calling All Retired Cops!’

Once a cop, always a cop (left to right): Leon Gonsalves Jr., Wayne Muraoka and Allan Camara talk over coffee at Omoide Bakery and Deli in Hanapepe

Leon ‘Angus’ Gonsalves and fellow ex-cops are organizing a group to aid former Kaua’i officers in need

Calling all retired cops, calling all retired cops, this is car 54 where are you? Angus over and out,” says Leon Gonsalves Jr., known widely by his nickname.

A retired cop himself who once wore badge No. 55 with the Kaua’i Police Department, Gonsalves doesn’t know how to quit. He’s put the years in, but like so many retirees these days the concept “retirement” isn’t in his DNA.

After almost 35 years in law enforcement, first with KPD and then with the pros-ecutor’s office as a special investigator, Gonsalves this year completed serving two consecutive terms totaling six years as an appointee to the Kaua`i Police Commission.

But still he can’t stop. That’s why you’ll find him in the company of retired law enforcement buddies, hanging at Omoide Bakery and Delicatessen in Hanapepe. They’re cookin’ up something, and we’re not talking lilikoi pie or a plate lunch.

“I’m organizing an association for retired law enforcement officers of the Kauai County Police Department,” says Gonzalves. “It will be called Makuli Makai Hui, which stands for Old Police Officers Association. One of the organization’s goals will be to assist families of officers past and present and those who pass away.”

He’s patterning it after the retired police officers organization formed in 1947 in Honolulu, called Aha Hui O Na Makai Hauola, and is using a copy of their bylaws and constitution as a model.

On and off he’s thought about it, but something he heard about a month ago sparked him to move on it. He and his pals were having their usual coffee klatch to meet and solve the world’s problems.

At that particular meeting, talk turned to the topic of a seriously ill fellow retiree in a hospital in Honolulu. Gonsalves says the man was in danger of losing his legs, but quipped to his doctor, “Keep ’em. I can’t get into heaven without legs.”

The conversation weighed on his mind and he talked with his wife, Judy, about an emerging idea, a gathering of retired police on a grander scale, a force for good. She encouraged him to start something.

Kaua'i police commissioners in 2004 (clockwise from lower right): Stanton Pa, Victor Punua, Carol Furtado, Leon Gonsalves Jr. and Michael Ching

Referring to the klatch, he says, “We felt it would be good to get together and help the police department as an organization – after all, look at all the training and experience that’s out there among us.”

Take him alone, and not just on the job, either, although that’s a feat. He went from patrol officer to patrol sergeant, up to detective and over to special investigator in the pros-ecutor’s office and in the course of time garnered the county employee of the year award three times – the latter a unique accomplishment, he says.

While an active member of the force, Gonsalves served as a board member on the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers. He also helped start the Kaua`i Police Athletic League and sat on the Statewide Task Force on Youth Gangs.

His life as a volunteer is rich in service, too, and it taught him much. He coached Pop Warner football for 22 years in Koloa and was Pop Warner League Comm-issioner for eight years. For the last 18 years, he’s been an alii in the Royal Order of Kamehameha, and was on the board of the Kaua`i Government Employees Federal Credit Union for 20 years.

Gonsalves also served as president of the Holy Cross Church parish group and coached keiki there and in Kalaheo, where he lives.

“It was mostly to try to take care of the upcoming kids, to keep them out of trouble,” he says of his service with youths.

He and other police retirees like him have many resources and they want to bring their skills and talents to bear on getting this organization started. It has the potential to help officers and families in their time of need, to gather for social purposes, raise funds and more.

There are so many possibilities for this emerging organization to help that Gonsalves is excited as he moves forward. He’s already found 105 retirees still alive and kicking, all but two of them on Kaua`i.

“I’m trying to start small, maybe get a scholarship going,” says Gonsalves. “This will take time.”

For more nformation, e-mail Gonsalves at angus4590puuwai@msn.com or call 639-0356.

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