What do you get when you mix one part law enforcement officer, one part skater, one part jiu-jitsu instructor, one part community ambassador, one part trombone player and one part cold-plunge advocate?
You get Officer Craig Hanaumi.
This fall, Craig will celebrate his 20th year in law enforcement. Over those 20 years, he has dedicated himself to the communities in which he serves, engaging his neighbors through his long list of talents and seemingly endless energy. Trying to pin him down into one category is as fruitless as a carnivore’s diet. But through a combination of social media research and Officer Craig’s own words, HAIX attempted to unlock the secret of his aloha spirit.
Craig chose law enforcement because it was a profession that no one else in his family had experienced. And he jokes, it is the closest job to being Batman that he could find. Born and raised in Oahu, Hawaii, Craig worked for the Honolulu police department for three years before trading in the sun and sand for the mist and mountains of Bellevue, Washington. He initially got involved with community outreach to bridge the trust gap. “My community involvement began when I was still in patrol because I wanted to explore the other aspects of police work beyond responding to 911 calls. I wanted to get to know our community better and I wanted our community to get to know me better” he said. In 2008, he began volunteering in the Bellevue School District on his days off, teaching trombone and low brass to students in middle school. That act benefited him too. It allowed him to meet people in his community, but also helped him feel less homesick.
Skill Unlocked: Discipline
Craig was introduced to jiu-jitsu through a police training course he attended in 2008 called the Gracie Survival Tactics (GST) course. Drawn to jiu-jitsu's applicability toward work and life, he’s been training on and off for over 14 years. “I am only 135lbs and jiu-jitsu looked like it gave a smaller person a realistic chance to survive against a bigger, stronger person”, Craig said. “I later realized that it also provides someone with the ability to safely control another person and even modulate the amount of force used.” Craig elected to become the “jiu-jitsu person” in his department at Bellevue PD. However, it isn’t the title that speaks to Craig’s character. “Back then our department didn’t have a jiu-jitsu person...so I thought ‘I could be that person!’”. See the need. Be the person that meets the need.
Skill Unlocked: Confidence
Craig lists his influences as his parents, his sister and the “Bones Brigade”. If you understand that reference, your knees might hurt in the morning. For those folks like me that need an explanation, the “Bones Brigade” brought skateboarding to the masses—compliments of well-known group-members like Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen. Craig grew up in the 80’s watching Marty McFly and skateboarding classics like “Future Primitive” and “The Search for Animal Chin” on VHS.
Skating is the most notable way Craig connected with his community. Bellevue is home to an indoor/outdoor skate park run by Joseph Moorman, longtime skater, and city employee. Staff coordinate week-long skate camps throughout the year, primarily during the summer months. Craig has a standing invitation to drop into the bowl any time; an invitation he regularly accepts.
Craig’s love—and skill—for skateboarding has led to several partnerships with local agencies that are also doing work in the community. Craig mentioned skateboards4all.com, The Basketball Cop Foundation and legendary skateboarder Mike Vallely’s company “Street Plant”. These companies have donated several skateboards that have been given to deserving youth in the Bellevue community and beyond.
Skill Unlocked: Character
In the age of blockbuster superhero origin stories, Craig is quick to point out that you don’t have to be a trust-fund cave dweller or chiseled out of stone to make an impact the size of a hulking, green fist. “When I was growing up my parents both led by example and taught me the importance of supporting and taking care of people through service. My sister is also incredible at that too, through her work as a pediatrician,” he told us. “My message is that regardless of what a person does for work, we all can make our communities better and make a difference in our own way.”
Craig likes HAIX shoes for the same reason we like Craig—we both strive to be the best we can be. We knew Craig would put our police boots to the test; whether working, skating, tumbling, hooping, running or training. “I told them that I would try them and then give them away to the Washington Youth Academy (WYA), an amazing program that supports youth in our community in our state. Knowing this, they still sent two pairs of shoes for me to try over the years. They were very comfortable and look great! I know that a youth at the WYA will make good use of them!”
I’m sure there is a term in skateboarding, or jiu-jitsu, or brass instrumentation, or even in law enforcement, that represents a person like Craig. Someone that embodies the belief in banking sunshine for life’s rainy days. “There are definitely days when work and life are difficult,” Craig explains. “When those days happen, I try to think about all the positive connections with people in our community that we have made over the years. I try to put the positive experiences in my ‘bank account’ so that when things are challenging, I am able to make withdrawals to help me through [those] times.” Finding balance in a demanding and often maligned profession is something Craig works hard to achieve. His connections with his community have been “instrumental” in the lives of many Bellevue youth (sorry, can’t resist a pun). But those connections also benefit him. “We often see the worst things when responding to 911 calls” Craig explains. “Focusing on trying to uplift other people helps me too.”
In homesickness and in health, Craig is committed to growing where he’s planted, with aloha of course.
For more about Officer Hanaumi and his adventures, check out his Instagram account @craighanaumi