Kupuna Life: CrimeStoppers Volunteers

Kupuna Life

Kathy Muneno introduces us to three kupuna who see the virtue in fighting crime from behind a desk at HPD in tonight’s Kupuna Life.

“Just put the labels on here. Yah she’s gonna get the labels between these three.”

Twenty-seven years of volunteering for Honolulu CrimeStoppers, the bulk by Bertha Kaui who’s retired from the postal service, 21 years volunteering here.

“You have a good feeling when you find that someone has been captured and arrested especially the bad guys,” says Bertha Kaui, Honolulu CrimeStoppers volunteer.  

“Bertha is the very motherly very caring very even keeled,” says Sgt. Chris Kim of Honolulu CrimeStoppers. 

Sound of phone ringing then Rick Lau, Honolulu CrimeStoppers volunteer answering phone: “Crimestoppers”

Rick Lau made a commitment a while ago to volunteer for crimestoppers when he retired as an insurance agent. He  retired five years ago. “Sometimes I get a hot tip. The guy says I see a person that’s posted on KHON or posted on Midweek and I say okay where is he and it results in a hot tip and i follow-up, report it to the police and they call back in about an hour and say ‘eh we rewarding’ and exciting,”  says Rick Lau, Honolulu CrimeStoppers volunteer.

“The name of the person please,” 

Rick is Mr. Aloha. He makes people laugh, he makes people smile and he likes to bring snacks to share with the other volunteers,” says Sgt. Kim.

And then came Frances Camacho, Honolulu CrimeStoppers’ newest volunteer. In her one year so far, 641 hours logged.

“Rick was the previous years winner. He logged in 300 something hours. So Frances smoked him,” says Sgt. Kim. 

“The very first day, yes I wasn’t comfortable in me and I really didn’t know how to do things. Even when people around me were telling me just follow the paper rattling off and with all the shorthand. I had, I didn’t know how to slow the caller down but when I finally got to be comfortable in me then I could do it better,” says Frances Camacho, Honolulu CrimeStoppers volunteer.

Retired from the hotel industry, Frances never dreamed she’d be doing this work, but couldn’t say no to her “church” sister Donna Takahashi-Gomes, who is CrimeStoppers clerk-typist.

“She’s my wonderful leader, she really and not only for Donna but also for Sgt Kim and Officer Glenda,” says Camacho. 

There is mutual appreciation here.

“The people here are very nice and I like how they’re so family-oriented because the officers are here long hours and I’m here, they’re here. I go home and they’re still here,” says Kaui. 

For the kupuna volunteers, “they’re very patient, very understanding, very nurturing and they bring a lot of experiences with them. They understand that when tipsters are calling in they have that ability to just calm them down just, to kind of slow them down and get the pertinent information they need,” says Sgt. Kim. 

For the work, “Almost like when you carry an infant and sometimes the infant might be a little heavy but when you put the infant down, even though you’re feeling the pain here, you feel good so yah, we feel good,” says Frances Camacho.

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