In Memory of Captain Justino Tudela Arriola

In Memory of Captain Justino Tudela Arriola

No one knows better the danger that a tense circumstance can present than police in the United States. Constantly under pressure to control people who are guaranteed rights that provide them a wide latitude of no control, the scenarios that citizens can present range from the mundane to sheer terror, even for a trained professional. With that thought, we continue to reflect on moments in the history of law enforcement we wish we could get back, the sacrifices of those that have paid the ultimate price on our behalf.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

We take for granted some the true treasures we have in this great country. The Northern Mariana Islands is one of those treasures. During World War II, CNMI as it’s known by some, became a major battleground between US Marines and Japanese forces. The far northern cliffs of the main island, Saipan, are known as Banzai and Suicide Cliff. Both of these historic sites are where thousands of Japanese soldiers jumped to their death, into a craggy inlet on the Pacific Ocean, rather than be captured by US military. Both sides are memorialized well by both sides of the Battle of Saipan. The Grotto is a famous dive site, filled with coral and sea turtles, all protected by the cavernous surroundings the landform offers them. The islands have numerous places to camp, along with resort districts on two of the islands. The islands continue to suffer the peaks of typhoons, and has become the subject of a sort of ‘land grab’ between Chinese business interests trying to plant casinos at several islands, and the US, who is constructing military bases in every available corner. How that will play out is anyone’s guess. CNMI has lost several officers over the years, our next officer is their first.

Captain Justino Tudela Arriola

Captain Justino Tudela Arriola was a four-year veteran of the Northern Mariana Islands Police Department, when on February 14th, 1928, he responded to a gun call, involving one man pointing a handgun at another man, along Route 31 in Papago, a residential village along the main highway through the island. Captain Arriola located the parties in the roadway, staged his patrol vehicle and as he exited his vehicle, began ordering the suspect to drop his firearm. The man turned towards Captain Arriola, and both began shooting at each other. Ultimately, both Captain Arriola, and the criminal died at the scene.


Captain Arriola left behind a wife and five children. Most information about Captain Arriola’s life is tucked away out of view for us to discover. What we do know is that Lieutenant Governor Diego Benavente made an effort to honor every officer who died in the line of duty in CNMI in 2004, including Captain Arriola, an effort that had not taken place prior to the ceremony. We are glad to know that the life of Captain Arriola has not been completely forgotten. He was important.

In memory of Captain Justino Tudela Arriola.