Fallen police officer Kaulike Kalama was a McKinley football captain in ’02

Not everybody wants to be a police officer. It usually takes somebody who cares about the well being of others.

According to a former McKinley head football coach, Kaulike Kalama was just that type of person.

Kalama, who was one of two Honolulu Police Department officers who were shot and killed in the line of duty last Sunday, played linebacker for the Tigers, earning 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin All-State honorable mention honors before graduating in ’03. He was also a member of McKinley’s state mixed canoe paddling championship team in ’03.

David Tanuvasa and Neal Takamori, the McKinley head coach and athletic director back then, remember Kalama well.

“It was a real sad case,” Takamori said by phone Wednesday. “He was such a tremendous individual. He was outstanding in both, but he was just a good all-around kid, the kind that you want him for your son. A really great kid. We had visions of him going away to college and stuff like that, but he decided he wanted to stay home and be of service. That’s why he joined the force. He was always trying to help out.”

Tanuvasa concurred with all of that, and added some of his memories of Kalama.

“Kaulike was a humble leader,” he said. “He was well respected by his peers. He was actually one of the captains, very quiet, but someone who people respected. He was always involved in the community services that we had available. He participated in Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the March of Dimes — always community centered. His love for the community was so great.

Kaulike Kalama was a captain of the McKinley football team in 2002. Photo courtesy of David Tanuvasa.

“On the field, he was like an assistant coach, somebody I could depend on when asking for football members to take leadership. He could recognize things that needed to be developed and improved and would make those suggestions. He was always looking to give back and not what he could get out of it.”

Kalama was a strong-side linebacker.

“We would put him pretty much on locating one of the opponents’ best players,” Tanuvasa continued. “He was one of our athletic players. I remember one time, we were playing Roosevelt and they had a very talented quarterback. I think it was Chad Kapanui (who went on to star as a linebacker for the University of Hawaii). I asked Kaulike to man up on this guy and that If we can shut him down, we’ll win the game. It was challenging. The QB was pretty nifty. For the most part, Kaulike won the battle. If he didn’t we probably wouldn’t have won. We did win.”

Tiffany Enriquez, the other fallen police officer in Sunday’s tragic shooting and fire on Hibiscus Drive, also had a connection to Hawaii High School sports. Her daughter, Jazmyn Enriquez, is a Campbell High wrestler.

Rory Pico, the Campbell athletic director, said the school did not want to comment out of respect for the family.

Jazmyn Enriquez won the 2019 state championship and also won the OIA title in the 97-pound class last spring. She placed fourth in 2018.


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