Okinawa police bolstered with another 100 officers

Okinawa Prefectural Police has been beefed up with an additional 100 police officers transferred from 16 different prefectures to serve on the island in a special unit nicknamed “Okinawa Shiisa Churatai.”

An inauguration ceremony for the group was held Wednesday. The special unit is tasked with conducting increased patrolling in residential areas. The government decided to increase police patrols following the murder of a young Okinawan woman by a U.S. civilian base worker in Uruma City last year.

All 100 officers participated in the ceremony wearing red armbands. Katsushi Ikeda, the chief of Okinawa Prefectural Police said, “Patrolling the streets directly increases residents’ sense of security. I expect you to be proud of your duties.”

The government created the plan to increase the number of police in Okinawa last year, and the amended ordinance went into effect Jan. 1st. The officers are assigned to 10 locations on the main island of Okinawa, excluding the northern part and remote islands, and including the Prefectural Police Headquarters, Naha Police and Okinawa City Police. They will help strengthen patrolling activities as well as initial response to accidents.

Before moving to their assigned locations, members of the group are scheduled to take three days of intensive lectures about Okinawa’s history and geography.