KPD to host two community events this month
Kinston Police Chief Alonzo Jaynes works the drive thru window during a recent community relations event held at Chick-fil-A. Submitted photo.
Pizza with a Cop - Saturday, August 4th from 11a-2p
This month, the Kinston Police Department is hosting two events to help connect and interact with the community in order to help foster good relations with city residents.
The first event will be held Saturday at the Pizza Hut on West Vernon Avenue from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., for “Pizza with a Cop." Members of the KPD will be present to meet members of the community and listen to their concerns, field questions and build relationships with the people they serve. Any customer under the age of 18 will get a free meal.
“We do everything we can to, as far as community policing, being proactive," KPD Public Information Officer Woody Spencer said. "We want to meet people one-on-one instead of meeting people like we normally do under stressful circumstances. We want to meet our neighbors, have a slice of pizza, joke around and get to know each other. Everyone gets to see that cops are humans too."
Too often when people have an encounter with the police, it is when there is a crime, a traffic stop or an accident. Sometimes, people get really nervous if a patrol car is going by. Gatherings, like the Pizza with a Cop event, hope to help to ease those tensions.
By being able to relax a bit, people on both sides of the “thin blue line” can get along no matter what their backgrounds are in a very relaxed atmosphere.
“We usually have a good turnout for things like these. We’ve had 'Coffee with a Cop' and 'Cookies with a Cop.' It provides for a good back and forth in a situation that is calm and enjoyable," Spencer said. "There is nothing getting in the way. We can talk and have a good time. The more we do that the more people understand that we are on the same time and are here to help one another. We can have fun get to know each other well. It’s about building relationships within the community we serve.
"It’s a great time to be shared by everyone.”
School Supply Drive - Sunday, August 19th from 2-6p
The second scheduled KFP event is a school supply drive scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 19 at Fairfield Park from 2-6 p.m. The department, in conjunction with the Community Relations Team, is asking for donations that area students can use to help have a successful school year. Anything from pens and pencils to paper and markers to even books that elementary school teachers can stack their classroom libraries with are desired.
“There is always a need for our teachers and our kids," Boy Scouts of America Multicultural Outreach Director Kenyari Fields. "This is not just at the beginning of the school year but throughout the school year. This is an opportunity for us to help families in need to help get them off on the right foot throughout the school year. That way they can have a successful school year and classroom experience."
Fields is also a community liaison for the KPD.
“(An event like this) puts the police in a different light," Fields said. "It makes them seem more regular to more people. They’re just normal moms, dads, church goers, etc. They are just like the everyday people in the community and these programs and events helps to foster and create great relationships in the community."