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Tila Lovan, Officer Kim Halpain and Kiana Samniego

Tila Lovan, Officer Kim Halpain and Kiana Samniego pose for a quick picture.

WEST LIBERTY — In November, Police Chief Kary Kinmonth said he and the other officers were sitting, brainstorming ideas for Thanksgiving-themed community outreach. He said it was Kim Halpain, a new officer to the force who had an idea: Why don’t we give out turkeys instead of tickets?

“Initially I was thinking if we got five or 10 turkeys to hand out, we'd have a pretty good day,” Kinmonth said. “Well she met with West Liberty Food and got like 150 turkeys to hand out. It's at the point that when I give her a task, I know it's going to get done. I know it's going to get done timely. I know it's going to get done right.”

It was this abundance of trust that led Kinmonth to recommend her for an award. Each year, the Iowa Police Chiefs Association honors a police officer serving a community under 10,000 people. Kinmonth said he was elated to hear that Officer Kim Halpain, a 24-year-old was named the 2017 Community Policing Officer of the Year.

“There is not a better person that I have met in my life,” Kinmonth said. “Morally, spiritually — whatever term you want to use — I have not met a better person. She always has a smile in her face — as long as she’s got coffee in her — she is always full-speed on whatever needs to be done. She is ambitious to get after things. She is the first to volunteer for training, first for overtime.”

Even though she has only been with the force since June, Kinmonth said that in that short time, Halpain has established herself as a pillar of their community policing team.

“She is kind of the face of the franchise for us as far as social media outreach,” Kinmonth said. “Oftentimes, I'll use things she is doing the community that she came up with to interact and engage with our community members.”

In addition to her day-to-day work on the force, Halpain is the police liaison to West Liberty Schools.

“Oftentimes when something is going on in the school, the administration will get a hold of (Halpain),” Kinmonth said. “Many times, she is taking these calls on her own time, basically on her time off. But she never hesitates to answer the phone or try to help somebody out.”

While Kinmonth said that his team is replete with “excellence,” he was happy that Halpain got recognized.

This is a very prestigious statewide award, and she is so deserving,” Kinmonth said. “She is just a bright shining star around here. She has come in and just fit in fabulously with our community and just very well loved and respected here in town.”

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