Well-liked NYPD Sgt. Chris Traumer announces retirement

He would like get back to mentoring at-risk youth again. Facebook photo

By Wendell Gaa

Having served the New York Police Department (NYPD) for 21 years, police officer Chris Traumer, recently retired with the distinguished rank of a sergeant.

This towering 6’7 Filipino American is known to be one of the friendliest and most helpful law enforcement officials ever, one who has loyally served the City of New York as well as the FilAm community through some dark and challenging times, such as 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012. From the beginning to the end of his career, Traumer has given his utmost to assist the community in ensuring safety and security in both normal and extraordinary times.

census short

He was born in Angeles City, Pampanga.  His father James Traumer, an American plane mechanic stationed at Clark Air Base, married a Filipina woman, Lourdes. The family moved to New York when Chris was barely one year old. He attended the Bronx Community College and Mercy College, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree.

Attempting to use his height to his advantage, he had tried out for a spot on the Philippine Basketball League and Philippine National Team in 1997 but was unable to make the cut.  He then went on to pursue his alternative career goal to become a police officer for the NYPD.

“I had a vision of working with the youth and cleaning up neighborhoods of drugs and gangs, because I grew up around that and wanted to make a difference,” he said.

It was in the late 1990s when I had the pleasure to meet him, just as his career as an NYPD officer was coming to fruition.  My late father, Ambassador Willy C. Gaa, was the Consul General in New York at the time, and he had the honor of receiving Traumer for courtesy calls at his consulate office. I fondly recall meeting Chris quite a few other times whenever he would grace numerous community events.

Among the plentiful projects which he worked on with the FilAm community includes sponsoring several 1st responders church masses at New York’s Chapel of San Lorenzo Ruiz.  On many occasions, he would speak to basketball youth groups and warn them about the risks of doing drugs and joining gangs in Staten Island and Queens.

Sgt. Traumer had traveled to the Philippines where he gave a presentation about building a stronger mentoring connection with the youth through programs like Law Enforcement Explorers.

The author with Traumer at an Independence Day parade on Madison Avenue.

While on the police force, he had further been honored to assist numerous celebrities and public personalities who would take trips to New York from the Philippines. One memorable moment for him was working with the security detail at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx when Pope Benedict XVI was there for a visit in 2008.  Seeing the head of the Catholic Church up close is something Traumer will never forget.

Traumer has expressed a desire to get back to mentoring at-risk youth again.  Eventually, he would also like to move from New York and take his parents to a warmer climate city, as well as starting a family of his own. Aside from playing basketball, his favorite hobbies are fishing in fresh water lakes. At some point, he would like to try fly-fishing in a stream.

He feels his greatest accomplishment throughout his years serving the NYPD and the community was guiding the youth in a positive direction.

“I was fortunate to be working with the right people to take down several violent organizations that were terrorizing neighborhoods in the Bronx.  I felt that by sharing my story with the FilAm youth in the community about growing up in public housing with the temptations of drugs and crime that I was able to plant a seed in their minds of avoiding trouble to become a productive person,” he said.

When he joined the NYPD, he said there were not too many Filipino youths in the force.  As a police officer, he followed his voice and dared to be different.

He said, “When I started a boxing program for the at-risk youth, I was told ‘why would you do that, so the kid can punch us out.’  One kid in the group became a professional and his younger brother, who is doing really well, followed.  But be humble about the way you carry yourself.  I spoke to the officers mostly in a calm manner, letting them know what I was trying to do, as some people are just stuck in their ways.  Seek out the people in the police force and in the community that will have the same ideals as you, but most importantly just start the process. You will be amazed at how people will come out of nowhere who are willing to help you.”

census square

© The FilAm 2020

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: