British Columbia

Off-duty Victoria police officers praised for intervening in sex assault in Hawaii

Two off-duty Victoria police officers are being hailed for intervening in a sex assault while on holiday in Hawaii.

Const. Hayley Swann and Const. Brent Keddell kept eyes on suspect, calmed victims

Two off-duty Victoria police officers are being credited with intervening in a sex assault while vacationing in Kona, Hawaii. (Victoria Police Department/Facebook)

Two off-duty Victoria police officers on holiday in Hawaii are being hailed for intervening in a sex assault.

Victoria police Chief Del Manak said constables Hayley Swann and Brent Keddell were on a morning jog in a park in Kona, Hawaii Dec. 20 when they heard screaming.

Manak said the two officers followed the sound and discovered a man walking away from two women in distress, one of whom was injured. Manak said a male witness "in a state of panic" was calling 911.

Manak said Swann, who is assigned to the domestic violence unit in Victoria, immediately assisted the women, while Keddell assisted the witness and helped him provide important details and location co-ordinates to the local authorities by phone.

"The officer's instincts kicked in right away and [he] was able to calm down the person calling 911," said Manak, adding multiple units responded to the scene because the witness was able to explain the severity of the situation.

The police chief said Keddell also approached the male suspect cautiously, unsure if he had a weapon and the state of his mental health and kept eyes on him until Hawaiian police were able to arrest the man when they arrived.

Manak said he is "super proud" of Swann and Keddell, who between them have a combined 40 years of police service.

"It speaks to their professionalism and empathy," he said. "I am just extremely thankful for the officers for stepping in and doing what they did and basically saving what could have been a far more violent attack."

Manak confirmed Hawaiian authorities have charged Justin Bardwell with sex assault and kidnapping.

According to Manak, a preliminary hearing was held in Hawaii on Dec. 24 before Swann and Keddell returned from vacation, so they could provide critical evidence to the court.