Irvine Police Department Press Release

Farrah Emami - Public Information Officer
1 Civic Center Plaza
Irvine, CA 92606



PRESS RELEASE #10/03/2013
Subject :

Irvine Police Department Mourns the Passing of Robert Koga an Innovator in Police Training and Tactics
Contact :Dan Jung, Special Assistant to the Chief of Police    949-724-7209

IRVINE, CA (October 3, 2013):  On September 8, 2013, Robert K. Koga, 83, friend of the Irvine Police Department and known throughout the law enforcement community as a pioneer  in the area of officer safety and defensive tactics, passed away peacefully at his home in Fallbrook, California when he lost his struggle with Mesothelioma.

Robert had a 25-year career with the Los Angeles Police Department and was their second Asian police officer when he was hired in 1955.  Robert successfully adapted Aikido to The Koga System of self-defense and arrest control techniques for law enforcement.  He taught his techniques at the Los Angeles Police Academy, authored four text books devoted to self-defense techniques and through his The Koga Institute provided training to various other law enforcement agencies in the United States and abroad.

In 2000, Robert received the California Governor's Lifetime Award for Excellence in Peace Officers Training.  He was the first president of the California Asian Peace Officers Association and a past president of the National Asian Peace Officers Association. Robert was inducted into the World Martial Arts Masters Hall of Fame and the California Martial Arts Masters Hall of Fame.

Aside from Robert’s pursuit of officer training he lived a remarkable life.  His interest in martial arts began when he was 12 years old while confined to a Japanese Internment Camp at Topaz Mountain, Utah. After his release, Robert settled in Chicago and he joined the United States Air Force in 1949. Robert was eventually stationed in Japan where he continued his martial arts studies in Judo. Robert was later deployed to Korea where he was wounded and returned to Japan to recover from his injuries. 


Robert is survived by his wife Susan; four children, Michael, Frank, Kelleen and Thomas; five grandchildren Kelsey, Jared, Trent, Rylee and Kai; and stepfather Frank Shoda. 


“The men and women of the Irvine Police Department extend their condolences to the Koga Family and know Robert’s lifelong commitment to police training will continue through the Koga Institute”, commented Irvine Police Chief David L. Maggard.   “Robert will be remembered as a true innovator in police work.”


Robert’s family is asking that mourners respect him by donating to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation at


A memorial tribute to Robert K. Koga will be held at the Ontario Convention Center on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 1:00 p.m.

One Civic Center Plaza, Irvine, CA 92606
(949) 724-7000

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