The Arkansas City Police Department has endeavored to strengthen its relationship with the citizens of Arkansas City as part of a larger public outreach effort.

Matt Mayo

Photo by Nate Coye Heintz Sr.

This effort can be seen not only in the department’s interaction with youth in our community, but also opportunities such as Coffee with a Cop, which now happens several times a year.

Most recently, one ACPD officer was spotted singing karaoke at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

“We do bar checks at the bars, just to make an appearance and be seen,” explained Police Officer Matt Mayo. “Sometimes, it helps prevent problems before they start.”

During one of those checks at VFW Post 1254, Mayo picked up the microphone.

“I did it because I wanted to,” he said — although he did have a family member at the VFW egging him on.

Mayo chose a Garth Brooks song and showcased his vocal skills to those in attendance.

“You can never go wrong with Garth,” he said.

Musical history of Mayo

Mayo’s musical talents have been on display publicly before.

“I’ve always been involved in music,” he said. He performed in both band and choir in school.

In fact, Mayo had a vocal scholarship to Cowley College and was part of the Cowley College Singers.

“(I) also did my own DJ stuff for a while and ran sound for the Whiskey River Band, a local country band,” Mayo said. “Music just has a way of bringing people together — you have to love it.”

Outreach and community policing

The ongoing outreach effort by ACPD has not been an accident, according to Police Chief Dan Ward.

“I knew the men and women who make up the police department are great people, and I recognized that we just needed to develop more opportunities where the citizens could get to know the officers the way I do,” Ward said.

“We have encouraged the officers to be themselves and interact with the citizens, so they can see officers are great and approachable.”

Beginning in September, ACPD will have two full-time officers primarily assigned to community policing activities.

Those efforts will be used to help to reduce crime rates in Ark City through working with citizens, especially by relaunching the Neighborhood Watch program, Ward said.

“Whether it’s playing the piano at a local restaurant, singing karaoke in public or helping a local family by buying groceries, they have done a good job of connecting with our citizens,” he said.

“We also try to leverage our Facebook and Twitter accounts to spread the word about the fun and helpful things our officers do on a regular basis and encourage those positive interactions.

“I am very proud and impressed with how well the officers have connected with the public and shown they, too, are a part of the Ark City community. After all, the connections we make with others are what make a community worth living in.”