comscore Waikiki '73: That is Ronald Yuen and Claude Forney | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Waikiki ’73: That is Ronald Yuen and Claude Forney

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    The two police officers sitting in the car are Ronald Yuen and Claude Forney in this 1973 photograph by Eric Yanagi.

Retired Deputy Chief of Police Karl Godsey was the first to identify the two police officers sitting in a car as Ronald Yuen and Claude Forney.

Ronald Yuen was raised in the Kalihi-Palama area of Honolulu and joined the Honolulu Police as a recruit in November of 1966 after spending 3 years in the Army. Claude Forney, a Navy veteran of Korea and Vietnam, had come to the Honolulu Police late in life after retiring as a Petty Officer.

Some of Forney’s fellow officers were impressed if not astonished at this second career choice. Steven Kitsu, a recruit classmate wrote, "Most guys at his age would have laid back after retirement from the military and (gotten) some easy cushy job. I asked him why he was so into his job of being a patrol officer at his age and especially after retiring from the military after 20 years and he said that he loved the work and being able to help the people he dealt with." Yuen when asked, did remark, that he wondered if at the time Forney, "would make it".

Yuen, while serving as a "swing officer" in Waikiki remembered a different place. "Kalakaua (Avenue) was two ways then", but it was growing quickly with construction. When the high rises went up the number burglaries increased, otherwise, "Nothing major happened." He recalls lots of military personnel there.

Daughter-in-law Lynn Forney wrote, "Paul says his dad was so happy about being a policeman. Paul is an artist at Art on the Zoo Fence in Waikiki. " Every now and then someone will come up to us and say they knew his dad. People always have good memories of him."

Kitsu relayed that Forney on his final shift had disarmed a mentaly unstable man wielding a knife. Later experiencing chest pains he checked into Tripler Hospital where he later died. "He was the greatest friend and one of the best police officers that I have ever worked with. I really missed him then and still do."

Honored as a veteran, Forney was buried at Punchbowl in 1984.

Yuen went on to become a Lieutenant, serving for 43 years, 7 of which as a reserve officer. "I always wanted to make Lieutenant, thats it." Now a grandfather living on Oahu, he spends his time baby sitting and playing golf.

Thank you all for your responses.

—George F. Lee
Photo Editor
Honolulu Star-Advertiser


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