TACOMA -- When he’s not on patrol, it’s not unusual to find Tacoma Police Officer Pete Hayward playing dodgeball or helping kids with their homework.
Over a year ago, he started stopping by the Boys and Girls Club on the east-side of Tacoma. Almost every kid now knows him as “Officer Pedro.”
“Now the kids can’t remember Officer Hayward, but they can remember Officer Pedro,” said Hayward.
Someone gave him the nickname because he speaks Spanish. Hayward is a Community Liaison Officer with the Tacoma Police Department. He focuses on building relationships with neighborhood groups, residents, and kids.
“They don’t even see him as a police officer. They see him as Officer Pedro,” said James Joyner with the Boys and Girls Club. “Especially in the day we live in when police (can be) seen as a negative and he comes in and is seen as a positive.”
Hayward tries to stop by the club at least once a week.
Sometimes, he drops in after his shift for a couple of hours. Hayward says this is one of the most rewarding parts of his job.
“It has completely changed the dynamic of what these kids at least thought of the police,” said Hayward. “That’s part of the goal to not only be a part of our community, but also to be a positive part.”