Arkansas City Police Officer Kelsey Horinek was honored June 5 with a Law Enforcement Award from the local Optimist Club.

The award was presented at a City Commission meeting. Many members of Horinek’s family — including her husband, Kevin, who is a Cowley County sheriff’s deputy, and their children — were in attendance.

Optimist Club President Bob Frazee presented the award and club secretary Andrew Lawson listed Horinek’s honors. Both are city employees.

Other club members present included Commissioner Jay Warren, Public Works Director Mike Crandall, Felipe Escalante and Gary Hale.

Horinek has been employed with the Arkansas City Police Department since May 2016.

From jail to police

Horinek was raised in Winfield and she graduated in 2011 from Winfield High School.

Her public service began in 2012 at the Cowley County Jail, where she became more interested in pursuing law enforcement as her own career.

“I wanted to get into law enforcement because of my dad,” Horinek said. “He’s my inspiration. He currently works for Winfield (Police Department). Everyone I meet knows him, and has nothing but kind words and funny stories about him.”

Before she went to work at the jail, Horinek said that whatever she ended up doing in her life, she knew she wanted to help people.

“I chose (to apply at) ACPD because I love how involved they are with the community,” she said.

Horinek involvement

File photo by JENI McGEE

Horinek graduated as class president from the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center in September 2016. Her excellence has continued.

“She has shown that she has a drive and initiative to serve the citizens of Arkansas City with pride and dedication (to) being at the top of the department in nearly all statistics, to include all shifts, not just night shift…” Lawson quoted Master Police Officer Ted Shinneman as saying.

Since her field training was completed, Horinek has been involved in many different efforts to help the citizens of Arkansas City.

“Among the actions which earned her a nomination were her 2017 involvement in helping to save a suicidal teen, her strong statistical performance as a patrol officer, her membership on the department’s recruitment team and her continued involvement with a variety of new community programs,” states the award nomination from the Optimist Club.

These new programs include the Cops in Schools lunch program, Popsicle Patrol, #Badgetober, No Valuables November and Shop with a Cop.

Lawson said Horinek “in addition to her night-shift duties, also regularly comes in on her scheduled time off to attend various events through the day … making time to come in for job fairs, school presentations and other recruitment activities.”

“I think it is important for officers to reach out and connect with the kids in our community,” Horinek said. “It’s good to build that relationship early — that way they aren’t afraid of us. We want them to feel comfortable reaching out to us in any situation, good or bad.”

In fact, her involvement in the community through the police department is one of the aspects of her job that she enjoys the most.

“Whether it is at a community event or stopping to talk to people at the park, (I enjoy) just being involved with the community,” Horinek said.

About the Optimists

Every other year, the local Optimist Club honors an outstanding Arkansas City Police Department officer with its Law Enforcement Award.

This is just one part of Optimist International’s “Respect for Law” program.

In July 1965, a discussion between past Optimist International President Carl Bowen and former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director J. Edgar Hoover resulted in the birth of the Respect for Law program.

Respect for Law is the fourth-most popular OI program, with more than 1,500 clubs participating last year.

Previous winners of this award include ACPD Sgt. Eric Mata, in May 2015, and Cowley County Emergency Communications Director Doug Allison, who was honored last summer when he still worked for the Cowley County Sheriff’s Office.