HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In an upstairs office at the Honolulu Police Department’s main headquarters, CrimeStoppers volunteer Val Huihui answers phone calls from anonymous tipsters.
Cases can involve missing persons or unsolved crimes.
Part of Huihui's job is to calm callers down.
"They're very excited so you have to talk to them in a manner that you can get the needed information calmly," he said.
The Honolulu’s CrimeStoppers program is one of only a few in the nation that utilize volunteers instead of a call center.
“We actually have local people here. So when the tipsters call they’re actually talking to a live, local person. The call takers can relate to the tipsters and the tipsters can relate to the call takers,” CrimeStoppers coordinator Sgt. Chris Kim said.
Some 22 volunteers split shifts. Several are senior citizens, including Francis Camacho who put in 641 volunteer hours in 2018.
"The bottom line is to be a help. That's why the community calls because they want to help," she said.
Last year CrimeStoppers volunteers logged 3,772 hours.
That enabled investigators to wrap up 458 cases and make 34 arrests.
"Once we feature the fugitive we get a lot or calls coming in," CrimeStoppers secretary Donna Takahashi-Gomes said.
After he retired from the police force Huihui joined CrimeStoppers.
"I'm able to continue my work to the department volunteering," he said.
CrimeStoppers also takes tips through its web page and mobile phone app, so there’s a lot to process.
The team needs more volunteers.
“All they need to do is go to our Honolulu PD page, www.HonoluluPD.org, and go to the job opportunities section. There’s a link on there to be a volunteer,” Sgt. Chris Kim said.
Applicants are subject to an background check. The process takes a few months to complete. Click here for more information.