UH Mānoa recognizes its ‘Top Cop’ on campus

stacks_image_10Sergeant and Senior Investigator Alberta J.K Pukahi of University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Campus Security and Emergency Management Department has been recognized as one of Hawaiʻi’s “Top Cops.” The award is presented annually to law enforcement and security professionals who, nominated by their superiors and peers, have gone beyond the call of duty and met the highest standards of their field. Sgt. Pukahi and other 2011 “Top Cops” will be honored at the Law Enforcement and Security Appreciation Luncheon on Thursday, October 27, in the Mānoa Grand Ballroom at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaiʻi.

A 24-year veteran of UH Mānoa’s Campus Security unit, Pukahi is currently assigned some of the most sensitive and complex cases. She led this past summer’s special task force to prevent further burglaries at cash-handling locations on campus. For the last ten years, she has worked closely with the University’s Women’s Center, Judicial Office, and Student Affairs on sexual assault cases. According to Campus Security Chief Wayne K. Ogino, “Sergeant Pukahi has a special ability to patiently gain the trust of the most reluctant victims and, because of her close rapport with them, solve incidents.” Pukahi herself deflects credit to the Women’s Center, “a place that takes excellent care of women in crisis” and sees the work of Campus Security as “creating a bridge with students and the Womenʻs Center.” She states, “In the end, we all just want the students to succeed.”

Pukahi does not limit her counseling skills to students, however, and is recognized as a role model by her Campus Security department peers. She takes special interest in mentoring her fellow female Officers, as well as training her male counterparts to be more aware of their role as campus peacemakers and problem-solvers. She has also served as an instructor in a variety of programs, including LGBT Safe Zone Awareness, Domestic Non-Violence, and First Aid/CPR. “It’s all about making a positive change on campus,” Pukahi says.

Originally from Kahuku, Sergeant Pukahi holds a Bachelorʻs degree in Public Administration from University of Hawaiʻi West Oʻahu. She is an active member of community organizations the National Coalition Building Institute and the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation.

KITV news covered this story.
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