Baumgarner Recognized as Officer of the Month
The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized Officer Joshua Baumgarner on Jan. 24, 2019, as the Officer of the Month for December 2018.
Officer Baumgarner, who has three years of service with the Hawai‘i Police Department, was nominated by Captain Kenneth Quiocho for his effective handling of two unrelated situations in December.
The recent volcanic activity in Leilani Estates devastated and disrupted the community. Following the end of the eruption and the lifting of various manned police posts, the community began dealing with constant issues involving squatters and associated increase in crimes.
Being put to task by Captain Quiocho, Officer Baumgarner quickly orchestrated a special project in the area to check each residence that had potential squatters within with the intent of enforcing the laws related to trespassing. The results were impressive: In a single day, this task force arrested seven people and served 22 warrants. The response from the residents was overwhelmingly positive to the police action taken.
Later in the month during the early morning hours of Dec. 30, 2018, an elderly couple in Hawaiian Paradise Park awoke to discover an intruder within their residence. The elderly homeowner confronted the male suspect who ran to the victim’s Toyota truck parked outside, starting it with keys he had stolen from within the residence, then fled the area by crashing through the closed front gate.
That same day, Officer Baumgarner was able to locate and recover the stolen truck and identify a potential suspect.
“Officer Baumgarner is one of the rare officers in the Puna District who has a knack for developing and using confidential informants to solve crimes,” Quiocho wrote. “When there is a major crime that occurs within the district, it is usually Officer Baumgarner that the other officers turn to in developing leads and information related to the crime.”
As Officer of the Month, Baumgarner is eligible for the Officer of the Year award. He was previously recognized as the Aloha Exchange Club’s 2016 Officer of the Year.
The East Hawai‘i Officer of the Month award is a project of the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi.