Ala Moana Center has upgraded its security force. But the new addition is not quite what you’d expect. In fact, the newest member of the security team isn’t even human. The rookie mall-cop’s name is Yup and he’s a four-year-old German Shepherd.
Yup’s best friend, also known as his handler and K9 officer, Brandon Glenn, said the pair have been patrolling the mall since March. But Yup is originally from Europe.
“He started his illustrious career in Holland actually and he started his training there as well. he came over to a kennel in Indiana. From there Allied Universal acquired him,” Glenn explained.
Though Yup is still young and he’s already been on the job for almost five months, this isn’t his first rodeo. He’s been working like a dog since he was a pup.
“He’s worked his whole life. So far he enjoys it. No plans to retire any time soon,” Glenn said.
“Primarily his job here at Ala Moana is as a deterrent, but his training background, he actually trained at the same place the HPD dogs do,” Glenn explained.
Unlike HPD dogs, you can pet Yup…as long as you ask Glenn first.
“Cause if either one of us gets startled that is when he won’t be having as much fun,” Glenn explained.
Glenn is the person who tells Yup what to do.
“I get to dictate who is a good person and who he’s supposed to be less friendly with,” Glenn said.
Make no bones about it. Yup was trained to run with the big dogs and he was brought on by Ala Moana Shopping Center to enhance their security.
“We have 48 million visitations per year. With that kind of traffic we want to make sure the people that shop here feel good about where they shop and they feel safe,” explained Scott Creel, the senior marketing manager for Ala Moana.
GGP, the company that owns Ala Moana has other properties across the United States. Creel said some of them had introduced K9 units several years ago with positive reviews.
“The K9 patrol was brought on by GGP about five years ago and has units in Albuquerque, Chicago and Los Angeles. And just in March at Ala Moana Center so we’re very excited to have Yup here,” Creel said.
“(The K9) have a special training that brings a different type of awareness of events that can happen at a shopping center. this is just one way of deterring things that might become a problem at some point in time.”
Creel said they’ve also made other additions to security.
“We’ve added some new security vehicles, SUVs, which provide more visibility…but I think the most exciting one is Yup though. He’s a fan favorite for sure,” Creel said.
It’s clear Ala Moana isn’t barking up the wrong tree adding Yup to its security team.
Customer Joann Goldners said she comes to the mall every day and was so excited the first time she saw Yup.
“I love that Yup is here…knowing that he’s here everyday walking around, I actually think its a good thing for people of Hawaii and the tourists,” Goldner said.
Creel encourages people to come to Ala Moana to meet Yup, but always remember to ask his handler first.
Though Creel wouldn’t tell us exactly what shifts Yup works he said Yup can be found doing rounds on weekends, weekdays, evenings and mornings.
Ala Moana currently doesn’t have any plans to add any additional K9s to their force.