HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Craig Hanaumi is an Aiea grad and a former HPD officer that has moved to Bellevue, Washington. He's had success reaching troubled youth as a member of the Bellevue Police Department. He showed us how when he came back home on vacation.
"Ok, here we go," Hanaumi said as he crouched down on his skateboard apparently ready to spring upward for some kind of trick. He jumps up, kicks the board which then flips over under his feat, and then lands back on it. Nailed it. A group of teenagers who just met Hanaumi shouts in awe.
"That was awesome. I wasn't expecting that kick flip," says Zephenaiah Cruz. "That was great."
That relatability serves Hanaumi well in Bellevue. In fact, 6 years ago a group of teenagers posted a video of their interaction with him when they were skateboarding in a bank parking lot. He did ask them to leave...but not before he jumped on a board...The video got more than 100,000 views.
"When someone actually can come in here, hop on a skateboard and skate, I think the skateboarders know, this guy's paid his dues and he's the real deal," says Joe Moorman from Bellevue Skate Park. That's where Hanaumi usually skates back in Washington. "I think that connection was definitely made and they look at him now as a skateboarder."
Hanaumi says he hadn't skateboarded in about 25 years when he moved to the mainland. He started again for a couple of reasons. To "get to know people in the community and make me feel less home sick. Accomplished both at the same time," said Hanaumi.
He uses skating and other sports like mixed martial arts to reach youths and adults that maybe the average officer can't.
Placido Aguirre was running in a gang before Hanaumi invited him to learn jiu-jitsu and skate...anything to get him out of trouble.
Aguierre says if not for Hanaumi he would be, "Doing drugs, getting into fights, gangs. He was reaching out to me."
Now Aguirre is out of the gang, has his life on track and even has a job.
But that's just one example.
Last year Craig was the first recipient of the Bellevue Police Foundation Exemplary Law Enforcement Service Award, and in 2009, he was the Bellevue Police Department Officer of the Year.
"I focus on the outreach component and building relationships in the community which is part of our patrol mission," said Hanaumi. "That's the part I enjoy the most."
And it's working.