After a 32-year career as a police officer with the Appleton Police Department, 69-year-old Kristen Larson-Smith, decided she was not ready to stop serving her community. For the past 7 years, Kristen volunteers on a weekly basis with her old department. Her experience and knowledge allows her to perform volunteer work no one else could. She conducts background checks for all of the licensed premise applicants. By doing so, she is using her expertise from 30+ years of police service to vet out potential behavior issues. Kristen is diligent in her volunteering, showing up week after week to scour through mountains of applicants and research each and every one. She is doing the community and the police officers that serve it a huge favor.
Kristen’s law enforcement background allows her to read lengthy reports from the law enforcement records systems and weed out what doesn’t belong, and also highlight any areas of concerns. “This impacts the safety of our community and is greatly appreciated. Kristen has an attention to detail like none other,” says Beth Jasiak, Appleton Police Department Assistant to Chief and Volunteer Program Coordinator. Kristen is making a difference in her community and is today’s Daily Point of Light Award honoree. Points of Light spoke with Kristen about her commitment to service.
What inspires you to volunteer?
I am motivated to volunteer after a 32-year career as a police officer with the Appleton Police Department starting as a patrol officer and retiring as a patrol Captain. I am aware of the multi-duties an officer performs everyday and if I am able to assist them with a project, it allows them to focus on their assignments.
Describe your volunteer role
My main role as a volunteer is to review all license applications that are processed through the City of Appleton departments. The police department’s responsibility is to run a background check on all application requests and either approve them or send them for additional review. My other duties include working our Pill Drops, and our yearly Brat Fry during Police Week. I also assist our department historian with online research of individuals who have served as officers since we were established in 1850.
What has been the most rewarding part of your work?
The most rewarding part of my work is interacting with the other volunteers at the department. We have a group of individuals with diverse backgrounds who are talented and have an interest in serving the needs of the police department.
What have you learned through your experiences as a volunteer?
What I have learned is in how giving our volunteers are in any event or project they undertake for the department.
Why do you think it’s important for others to give back?
Communities are only stronger by the involvement of its citizens in the workings of the whole community. Knowledge and input are critical to address and solve problems that face every community.
What do you want people to learn from your story?
I believe people can learn from my story that it only takes simple acts of volunteerism to make a difference in our department and city. We all have two hands and with our hands we can accomplish anything. Your time commitment can be as much or as little as you choose. Find as interest and volunteer.
Do you want to make a difference in your community like Kristen Larson-Smith? Visit All for Good for local volunteer opportunities.