Lacey Kanipe with Conway Police Department

S3E1 with Lacey Kanipe of Conway Police Department talking about Cops & Coats

The first podcast episode of Season 3 with Conway Police’s Lacey Kanipe! We talk about the Cops & Coats program.

SHOW NOTES

You can inquire about donating by contacting Lacey:

Public Information Officer

Conway Police Department

Desk: 501.513.3583

Email: lacey.kanipe@conwayarkansas.gov


Transcript

00:01.57
tejones
Hey everyone, welcome to the show. I am here today with Laceyum, last name again. Ah that hi. goodnight les like ah Lacey Kanipe and she is the public information officer at the Conway police department.

00:08.36
Lacey Kanipe
Kanipe.

00:19.41
tejones
And as I learned before the show that is lovingly called PIO So she mentioned that several times p I Could you tell us a little lacey What a PIO does?

00:31.22
Lacey Kanipe
Yes, so the PIO is going to be? And ah, every department’s a little bit different but for me at Conway I am the social media manager. I am the media liaison. So anytime the news is interested in the story, I would be the point of contact for that. I’m also the event planner at the police department and I help with recruiting.

00:58.81
tejones
Okay, and so that yeah, no and then and the reason I even connected with you aside from the coats and cops and coats which we’re gonna talk about in just a minute is I saw a picture that you were had having a conversation ah radio interview with Ky One Zero Seven at Julie Sweet shop talking about the coats ah cops and coats if I get it right? And I’m like oh I need to know about this and we need to talk about it at the at Conway scene and then I said, “hey you can email me and you did actually followed up and sometimes when that happens you never hear from somebody.”

01:17.91
Lacey Kanipe
Um, this.

01:34.53
tejones
So I didn’t know what to expect and like, wow you followed up? Okay, that’s great. So this is your job, and this is what you do, um, tell us a little bit about yourself Lacy. did you do I know you told me you went to school in Middle Tennessee. Did you grow up in Tennessee?

01:46.67
Lacey Kanipe
No, I actually grew up in Arkansas. I just went to school. I’m at MTSU and I have a bachelor of science in mass communications with a focus in journalism and I minored in criminal justice and psychology.

01:58.22
tejones
Um.

02:05.20
Lacey Kanipe
So being a PIO or a spokesperson is what I wanted to do pretty much. Yes.

02:08.57
tejones
Um, yeah, you told me it was your dream job P I O for a police department or just in general.

02:17.28
Lacey Kanipe
Just for a government agency is really what I Wanted. Um, I was very interested in criminal Justice and I wanted to. You know, be a part of it. But also I loved to write and love to talk to people so I still kind of wanted that Journalism aspect and this is the best of both worlds for me.

02:32.97
tejones
Yeah, so what? What was it that caused you to want to be a public information officer for a government agency? Where did that come from?

02:42.97
Lacey Kanipe
So I started in Journalism, and I really liked writing feature stories. You know you can. It’s a culmination of interviews over a certain period of time you can spend time on them. There’s so much fun to write.

02:50.93
tejones
See here.

03:01.33
Lacey Kanipe
And I also loved writing like crime reports and so that kind of just was my goal was to take feature stories and crime reports and write. And that aspect of it and PIO kind of allows me to do that and allows me to tell the story about what our officers are doing in the community and how the police department is involved and what’s going on for public safety concerns and things like that. So that’s kind of how I got into it.

03:26.93
tejones
Yes, yes, so our friend Charles Finkenbinder over at the city attorney’s office is passionate about children’s and pedestrian safety. Have you worked with him on any that those types of issues yet?

03:44.74
Lacey Kanipe
So think and Finkenbinder he has I mean a fairly I like I mean fairly close relationship with the city in the police Department. So I have met him several times and we’ve worked together on like 1 story. Um, but I know he’s huge into child safety and helps with things like the bus crossings and things like that. So Yes, I know he’s very passionate about it.

04:08.53
tejones
Very um, he’s well the other thing I like about him. I mean not not to not to steal away from what we’re talking about here but he’ll do on his personal profile. He’ll do what he kind of does the Craig o’ne deal. Ah Craig O’Neill has the Arkansan of the day or whatever. Well, he’s kind of got like the con oi gene of the day and tells these stories about these people that really wouldn’t be talked about and I guess you get a chance to do that too being a PIO for CPD ah Conway police department. Maybe some of these officers who maybe would never really go notice. You get the chance to tell that story.

04:43.59
Lacey Kanipe
Yeah, So anytime we have a feel good or community oriented story where an officer goes out of their way to help someone talk to someone I mean I Really try to highlight that. And I especially like to tell their supervisors. You know when someone comments and says an officer does a good job or they send us their direct message I’ll print that off and I’ll go pin it on they have like ah like a corkboard that I’ll pin it on in the um like patrol briefing room and then I’ll tell their supervisors because I mean. I Think it’s important that they know that what they’re doing matters and they did make an impact on someone.

05:22.61
tejones
So you would encourage anybody in the community to have a positive conflict encounter with an officer to let you know? Yeah.

05:28.71
Lacey Kanipe
Of course yes, let us know on Facebook if you don’t feel like putting it in the comment section just directly message us if you want to put it in the comment section I see all those comments put it out there and like I said I’ll take a snippet of it and I will let the supervisor and the officer know.

05:44.42
tejones
And just so you know, you’re listening here. Lacy does read the comments she does respond or at least she did to meet. Maybe I don’t know but I’m very, very happy about that. So let’s talk about another feel-good story that you guys have going on. Ah, the coats and cops no cops and coats I get it back cops and oops program which you’ve recently launched the campaign for this year and I believe you’re giving those coats away in early October is that correct.

06:08.50
Lacey Kanipe
Cops and Coats. Yes.

06:16.41
Lacey Kanipe
So I will once I get all the applications in and I will see how many we have and I will reach out to the individuals that were chosen as a recipient and then I’ve got to purchase all the coats. So I would say probably like the third or fourth week of October is when we’ll try to distribute.

06:35.30
tejones
So the Conway police department ran this campaign before, if you like, this person period.

06:44.90
Lacey Kanipe
Yes, so the cops and coats program as far as I’m aware began in 2016 so it’s been going for 6 years um I was kind of digging through social media and some of the old files that I have and it appears we’ve given away almost five hundred coats in 6 years to children in the Conway community. Yeah.

07:04.88
tejones
Okay, do you know how it came about was that you know somebody’s idea or piggybacking another agency or.

07:13.76
Lacey Kanipe
So yeah so I know Latresha Woodruff, the former PIO in my position. Um, I know she was the one who started the program at the Conway police department. I’m not sure if it was her original idea if she saw it somewhere or what but I do know that she began it at cpd me.

07:32.76
tejones
It’s okay so it’s been around six years and to your knowledge Ms Woodruff started the program for CPD so how does the program work if if I’m ah if I’m a parent and I have a child and.

07:38.25
Lacey Kanipe
Yes.

07:47.98
tejones
You know? um maybe I don’t have the funds this year. Obviously inflation is happening and everything’s higher and maybe you’re struggling just to feed your family and a coat. Maybe the child needs a new coat and I’m interested in being a part of the program. How would I go about doing that?

08:02.67
Lacey Kanipe
So we have the application on our Facebook page if you go to facebook.com back /ConwayPD there’s a Google form that is pinned to the top of our Facebook page. Um, you can click on the Google Form it’ll take you into the application. We just ask that if you have multiple children you fill out an individual application for each child. You just put the same contact information on there. Um, and as a reminder this program is for individuals that reside in the city of Conway. So that’s the really thing that we like to highlight and all applications are due by Friday September Thirtieth at four zero p m.

08:48.43
tejones
September Thirtieth so the last day of the month is when the application has begun now if I am a citizen of Conway and I’m interested in being a part of helping with that through donation.

08:53.90
Lacey Kanipe
Um, this.

09:02.35
Lacey Kanipe
Look.

09:04.43
tejones
Or ah, either a code or ah or even money. How would I go about doing that?

09:07.93
Lacey Kanipe
So You are more than welcome to contact the police department. You can ask to speak to me directly and I can kind of help you with the coats that are donated have to be brand new with the tags attached. We don’t take used items. And if you want to donate a check you are more than welcome to, make that out to Conway police department for however much you would like to donate and then if in the memo Line. You’ll just put cops and coats that would go directly into the funding account for cops and coats.

09:40.70
tejones
What is the distribution process like you contact them individually? I Guess you’ll see them individually. Do they come to the police station? Do you go home? How does that work?

09:53.51
Lacey Kanipe
So a part of cops and coats that I love is that the coats are distributed by the officers so we usually choose a day in October to distribute the coats and all the officers from usually the shift that’s working that day will go to the homes that um, the. Coats are supposed to be distributed and they’ll give you a child a coat and it’s one of those things there’s nothing waxing a child’s face light up when they get a new coat and just the happiness. You know that kind of surrounds this. Um, this program is great and it really came about. Wanting to address the health concerns of some of the low income families in our community and alleviate some of that financial stress parents may feel when purchasing winter coats and so like I said it’s just it’s a really personal and happy experience and especially around the holidays I think it matters a little bit more. But you cannot if you’re not home on the distribution date. A lot of the time we’ll just schedule a separate drop off date or you can come to the police department to pick up the coat.

11:01.69
tejones
Now I’m just thinking you know we have a lot of fantastic groups in Conway, um is it. Do you recommend you like knowing a group, whether it’s a.

11:05.61
Lacey Kanipe
Would you.

11:16.22
tejones
Maybe a Chamber leads group or some kind of social group who wants to go in to raise some money to either buy coats or or actually give money is that something that people have done in the past is that you have.

11:18.23
Lacey Kanipe
They.

11:31.59
Lacey Kanipe
Yes, so we have had the Conway noon rotary club that has been very generous to us before they’ve helped us collect coats for us. The Arkansas Community Foundation has also donated to the program in the past. And this year the Walmart Neighborhood Market on Prince Street was a generous sponsor and honestly, without community support,  Cops and Coats just wouldn’t be possible.

11:55.65
tejones
Yeah, so you are giving Maybe the donations aren’t necessarily from individual people but maybe more groups. So if somebody’s listening to this in their Sunday school class or or ah maybe a hobby group or a sports group of some kind says hey. Want to be a part of this. They can contact you and and you’ll be happy to take their money I’m sure.

12:14.50
Lacey Kanipe
Yes, yes, ah well happy to take it purchase coats and give them away. So um, but yeah and we’ve had the stores that we’ve shopped at have been generous enough to give us  store discounts or coupons or. Gift cards when buying coats as well because they know that it’s an annual thing that we do So if they can’t donate or anything like that. They do their best to help us out when we’re shopping there.

12:40.34
tejones
Yeah, so that was the next question you have to actually buy the coats, right? Where can you tell what stores you go to?

12:44.43
Lacey Kanipe
What? So typically we go to Target, we go to Old Navy, and we go to Walmart.

12:55.81
tejones
Okay.

12:57.87
Lacey Kanipe
So those are the stores that help us out quite a bit when it comes to the cops and coats program.

13:01.91
tejones
And if I am somebody and I say I want to buy a coat for a child, you said that once you get the applications in you will actually have sizes of the children so you can actually help people connect the size to what they need.

13:06.67
Lacey Kanipe
Me.

13:17.33
Lacey Kanipe
Yeah, yeah, so and I mean we’ll have the applications in by September Thirtieth so if you would like to donate to the program and you call up here I have sizes that I can give you based on what’s been filled out from the applications. But if it’s something where you just want to go out in my coats. You know we get a lot of applications for this program. So even if you just go and you buy coats and you donate those, they’ll eventually go to a home if that makes if that makes sense. Yes, yes, 0 to 18.

13:45.26
tejones
Sure Yeah, you get all kinds of sizes. What age groups Do you help with this program?

13:54.76
Lacey Kanipe
So baby, all the way up to adulthood. Yeah.

13:58.45
tejones
Okay, yeah, so well you know a teenager and the needs for a teenager is a lot different than a need for a you know a toddler or you and a newborn baby I have a great nephew who’s just a little over a year old now. He’s growing like a weed. So.

14:06.15
Lacey Kanipe
Movie.

14:14.15
Lacey Kanipe
Yeah, you get a we get do but a very diverse group of applicants I mean each year I said we buy all the way from 0 to 18. So it’s one of those things that my office looks like.

14:16.80
tejones
These have a bed is my mess to buy a lot of clothes regularly. But.

14:33.14
Lacey Kanipe
Ah crazy I’ve got coats everywhere in my office during the month of October. So it’s kind of funny. It just looks like, um, it just looks like a mess. But  it’s its worth it. I enjoy it and the sorting of the coats and things like that and just telling people when you call people and say  you’ve been chosen as a recipient they’re so happy and that’s really what it’s about it’s just giving back to the community.

14:56.90
tejones
You know I was I was sitting here wondering for the last fifteen minutes if you were a part of the one last year and it sounds like you were, so can you tell me about that experience last year

15:04.34
Lacey Kanipe
Yes, yeah, so last year was my first year at the police department and cops and coats was actually my first like event. Um, so.

15:14.24
tejones
Try.

15:18.50
Lacey Kanipe
It was one of those things I decided to do the Google form on Facebook um, that just makes it a little bit easier. You know people see it. We have a pretty um, massive Facebook following and as far as promoting it. Um, really Facebook was. Kind of the only place that we promoted it last year this is the first year that I’ve gone to y one zero seven so the community breakfast and obviously the first year that I’ve done the podcast with you and so we got over well over a hundred applicants last year um and then we were able to distribute roughly one hundred coats to children in the community and so it was it was a ah definitely a learning experience. Um, so I was collecting applications,  and I would go buy a coat. Um, I definitely had to return a couple items just based on the sizes because there was a bit of miscommunication there which is okay, but it was fun. You know it’s fun picking out the 2 coats. I like picking out smaller kids’ coats because they’re adorable. They’ve got little dinosaurs or. Princesses on them or just things like that are super cute and so I definitely enjoy it.

16:34.68
tejones
We haven’t had really very cold weather by October the last few years. So I guess we’re getting it in time. Um, which is a good thing.

16:40.88
Lacey Kanipe
Well, that was our goal. The program used to happen in November and December and so, yeah, it’s already September and it’s still hot outside so October is kind of that transition month.

16:53.54
tejones
That.

16:59.10
Lacey Kanipe
Where I think it’s almost like it gets kind of cold by the end of October but then really that first week of November is when I feel like a lot of the times that winter kind of comes in. But yes we try to get them out as early as we can. We want them to have them before the holidays really start. Ah.

17:15.96
tejones
Yeah, so.

17:18.88
Lacey Kanipe
So that’s why we’ve chosen to move it up to October as the distribution date.

17:22.25
tejones
So this is a big part of being a PIO doing the Cops & Coats program and I know you said that you have other events and other outreach programs and I know in the past that preschools and other schools have had officers.

17:32.90
Lacey Kanipe
Was I.

17:41.66
tejones
I Know because my church had one of your officers there and she actually happens to be the daughter of my next door Neighbor. So I knew she was like oh okay, that’s cool and so if somebody’s listening this and they they they have ah a so ah school like that preschool daycare or. Some kind of organization and they would like to be involved or have some officers come out and speak to the children about that kind of thing. How would they go about doing that.

18:07.23
Lacey Kanipe
So they are more than welcome to email me. My email says I can give it out. I don’t mind. It’s going to be my first name which is l a c e y period k a nipe at Conway Arkansas Gov that is all spelled out in a long email. Um or they can call the police department and they’ll forward them to my office phone. So my office phone, if you leave me a voicemail, goes straight to my email as well as my cell phone.

18:27.56
tejones
Um, yes.

18:41.73
Lacey Kanipe
So usually um, that’s how we set something up as we email or we chat over the phone. Oh yes, so we do a lot of school visits. The kids love it and it’s always my goal if we can. We have 4 canine officers.

18:47.14
tejones
Um, do you do a lot of those?

18:59.37
Lacey Kanipe
And we have one that’s in a school So His dog is a bit different than the other three but I always like to bring a canine because the kids love it and they love seeing what the dogs can do and learning about them. So It just makes it a more fun experience. For them when you get the dogs involved So That’s something that we do. We do quite a bit.

19:20.16
tejones
Yeah, and I know you have some actual events that you guys host throughout the year as well. Um, can you talk a little bit about those real quick before we finish up the podcast episodes?

19:28.24
Lacey Kanipe
Yeah, so we have actually in October we have another event, the trunk retreat which is also one of my favorite events because I get to dress up as a civilian employee. Officers put on their uniform and come out. It’s still a great time though and ours is a little bit different. We do a drive through event. So the kids and families can get out of their vehicles if they want to but most of the time they just like to drive through and grab their candy. Go snap a few photos. Um, and that’s nice. Started that last year so that was kind of my idea. Um I put that together last year and there were so many people we didn’t really think that there would be that many people and it was a lot and it was a lot of fun so that’ll happen in October at the end. It’ll be on Halloween is what we’re shooting for and then. We have the um, the child safety fair which is our biggest event in the summer that happens in June. It’s always typically the second or third week of June that it happens and that’s out at the Conway expo center and that is that’s a feat. Me tell you that one um that one I put together over the course of, five six months inviting vendors throughout that service Faulkner County buying toys and goods and things like that for the kids we I’ve got the bounce houses all that good stuff. So.

20:59.67
Lacey Kanipe
That’s a big event. It’s really fun and the community loves it and especially after Covid this year I feel like the community was just starving for socialization and so I think anything like the trunk or tree and the child safety fair. Are great for the community because they’re finally able to get back out there. They’re finally able to interact with people and they they really enjoyed it.

21:26.10
tejones
Yeah, well kids do, most kids love the socialization aspect and meeting the dogs for when they come out and meeting and I think it’s such a good thing to have for kids to have a positive interaction with an officer at such a young age because.

21:30.71
Lacey Kanipe
Yes, yes.

21:42.22
tejones
Whenever they need help they need to be able to trust an officer you know when there’s a problem so being able to do that now helping do that now is a very important thing. So.

21:45.56
Lacey Kanipe
Yes.

21:57.48
Lacey Kanipe
I agree I mean I think instilling it in the young, The young person’s mind is important because like you said if they need help or if they don’t know what to do or if they’re in trouble, I mean that’s ultimately what police officers are here for.. We’re here to help you. You know I mean and we want kids to know that we want them to know that we are. You know we’re people and we enjoy interacting with the community and we enjoy our jobs and that’s what we’re here for?? Yeah, yeah, we actually.

22:24.74
tejones
Yeah, like Mr Rogers said look for the helpers.

22:31.93
Lacey Kanipe
Ah, have a school visit coming up. Um, at the end of September and they’re doing so they’re studying community helpers and so they always reach out to us. Ah, when they have this and so that’s why I thought that was kind of funny I was like we actually have a school visit coming up now.

22:37.82
tejones
Yeah, and.

22:46.15
tejones
Yeah, yeah, look for the helpers at Sage advice from Mr. Rogers that you know there’s a lot of people in the community that are willing to help and so yeah, well lacey. Thanks for coming on the show and talking about it.

22:56.78
Lacey Kanipe
Yes, yes.

23:04.90
tejones
The Copson Coach program and some of the other things that the Conway police department has for the community.

23:08.18
Lacey Kanipe
Oh of course any time I enjoy it I’m good with that I’m good with that.

23:11.20
tejones
We may have you back and I have had a number of people that said hey we love this. We could come back. It’s like you know what? there’s annual thing you know some of these are annual things. So. Certainly that’s the case with you. There’s a reason to have always the reason to have you back so we may look into doing that next fall or before the safety fare in the summer yeah.

23:38.65
Lacey Kanipe
Yes, the safety fair is something that I mean I advertise as much as I can because it really is a large event and  it’s during the summer so you know the kids are out of school. It’s a great way to get to know the stakeholders in your community and um, just the advocate agencies that are in Conway and stuff like that. So it. It really is a great way to just um, pretty much get to know everybody. And it’s fun. You know I mean that’s what it’s about. It’s also fun. So that’s the key part too.

24:12.49
tejones
Well I’ll close this down and say and maybe someday the Conway police department can have a how to drive us to a roundabout fair.

24:23.38
Lacey Kanipe
Um, oh yeah, no, we’re known as ah, we get a lot of roundabouts in Conway right? yes.

24:27.14
tejones
Indeed all right? Thanks for coming on the show day lacy I Super appreciate it. We will try to get all that information in the show notes and people can contact you if they want to apply.

24:36.95
Lacey Kanipe
Perfect. Yes, yes yes so I’ll give you my email one more time. It’s Lacey Dot can I at Conway Arkansas dot gov.

24:43.11
tejones
Or they want to donate to the cops and curls program.

24:53.32
Lacey Kanipe
Um, and then the phone number that you can call is my office phone if you would rather do that. It’s 501.513.3583

25:01.66
tejones
Five zero one

25:07.75
tejones
3 5 a 3 Okay, very good. Thank you lacy.

25:11.35
Lacey Kanipe
Oh you’re welcome. Thank you.

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