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Late Governor and Police Captain John A. Burns

Inducted into HPD Hall of Fame


(Mon., May 23, 2011)---Former Governor and Honolulu Police Captain John A. Burns was inducted into the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) Hall of Fame on May 21, 2011.  Burns was recognized for his support of the civil rights of Hawaii residents during World War II. 


      As a police officer, Burns worked in patrol and the Vice Division prior to being handpicked by Police Chief William Gabrielson in December 1940, to head the department's newly formed Espionage Bureau.  Burns was assigned to work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to look into rumors of sabotage and disloyalty against the United States.  As it turned out, none of the reports proved to be true. 


      After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Burns fought the internment of Japanese individuals based on ethnicity.  He advised the local community on how to serve and assist the U.S., including recruiting enlistees for the U.S. Army's 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team.  His close involvement with many ethnic groups in the community and the defense of their civil rights would later help to form the foundation of the Hawaii Democratic Party and his political career. 


      Burns resigned from the HPD in 1945.  He was elected as a territorial delegate to Congress in 1956 and served as Hawaii's Governor from 1962 to 1974. 


      The HPD's Hall of Fame was established on May 17, 2007, to honor those who have distinguished themselves through their outstanding contributions and service to the department and the community.  Previous inductees include Detective Chang Apana, Officer Roger Piwowarski, Chief Francis A. Keala, Chief Daniel S. C. Liu, Sergeant Edwin I. Adolphson, Jr., Sister Roberta Julie Derby, and Detective Lucille Abreu.