Hometown Hero: John Lacy
A 29-year veteran of the Overland Park Police Department, John Lacy utilizes his role as a Public Information Officer to help bridge the gap between the police department and the community.
The father of two was born and raised in St. Louis, MO and graduated from Missouri Western State University. Lacy moved to the Kansas City area in 1993 when he joined the Overland Park Police Department (OPPD). He was one of four individuals who beat out over 500 applicants to make it into OPPD.
“I always felt it was a calling,” said Lacy. “Ever since I was in second grade, I knew I wanted to be a police officer. You could say I’m living my dream right now.”
Lacy spent his first five years on patrol before moving to the Traffic Safety Unit. He then became a School Resource Officer for the Blue Valley School District, where he spent eight years before being promoted to his current role as Public Information Officer.
“My main motive is to contact the community with accurate information when it comes to crime and press releases,” said Lacy. “I like interacting with people. I like talking with them and explaining why we do the things that we do. I want the public to be educated and the citizens to know the law. I want them to be able to articulate the law and know what’s right and what’s wrong.”
Lacy also handles the department’s social media platforms. He speaks on podcasts and talks to anyone who wants information. He works directly for the Chief of Police and is the liaison between the community and the Chief. Every day brings a new challenge and a new opportunity to strengthen the police department’s relationship with those in the community.
Born with a heart for serving others, Lacy is always looking for ways to give back to the community, whether he’s on duty or not.
“One time I met a lady and her kids that I knew didn’t have money for food and the basics,” Lacy recalls. “She opened her fridge while we were talking and there was no food. After duty, I went to a local grocery store and bought at least two weeks’ worth of groceries. I came back to her home and dropped it off at her door, rang the doorbell and left.”
A member of the NAACP Johnson County Northeast, Lacy recently won the Law Enforcement Award from the Olathe NAACP for his work with minorities in the community.
“In the black community, there’s always been a stigma towards law enforcement,” Lacy said. “With things that have happened in recent years, the black community has developed an ‘us vs. police’ mentality. I would like to see more minorities become police officers. But at the same time, as long as the officers are reaching out to their communities, it shows that we are making an effort. We as law enforcement have to understand what the black community went through, starting from post-civil war all the way up to today’s world. We have to improve that in order to get better.”
Lacy is proudly an active member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity-Beta Lambda Chapter. Membership fees go directly to helping inner city youth, providing things like food, clothes and school supplies. He is also a member of the Kansas Association of Public Information Officers (KAPIO) and the National Information Officers Association.
In his free time, Lacy has enjoyed being a mentor to two young men who didn’t have any role models in their life. He has made a tremendous impact on the trajectory of their lives and remains a father figure to them to this day.
For his devoted service to the Kansas City community, Lacy is being honored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City and the Kansas City Royals as a “Blue KC Hometown Hero.” He was recognized at Kauffman Stadium Friday, August 5.