NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Podcasts are growing in popularity and more are created every year. You can find a podcast on almost any topic from true crime to food, fashion and more. Now, a new podcast recorded in an unexpected place in central Arkansas is hoping to make a big difference with a simple concept.
“On the Street with the NLRPD” is a new podcast created by Rick Beaston of the North Little Rock Police Department. The podcast is all about sharing an informative and lighter side view of the police department that patrols the streets of North Little Rock. Beaston said his goal is to help people get to know first responders in a unique way.
“We have been standoffish in the past and that is to maintain an edge mentally throughout the day, but I think that has put us behind in contacts with the public,” said Beaston.
Beaston hopes the podcast can change any negative public perception.
“We don't need it to be us and them; we are part of the community as well,” he said.
During the 20 to 30 minute podcast episodes, you get to know the first responders as real people with real stories.
“Funny, happy, sad, there’s a ton of stories out there,” said Beaston. “We’re sharing the actual experiences that we have on the street.”
He said the stories are meant to foster true human connection.
“Would you rather a stranger come help you or a friend?” he said. “If they can relate to us and see us as a friend that will open more avenues than we know about.”
One of the coolest things about this podcast is the way it’s all put together. It's all edited by officer Beaston right in his patrol car.
“We’ve got some software on the tablet in the patrol unit so I sit and work on it in the unit between calls when I’m not writing reports,” he said. “Hence the name ‘On the Street,’” he said.
Sergeant Amy Cooper knows about hard work on the street. She worked her way from patrol to doing communication for the police department. She was a recent guest on the podcast; an experience she describes as a little nerve-wracking.
“It’s more personal than the job I perform for the police department,” she said.
She opened up about herself, challenging situations she’s faced and some funny moments too.
“I talked about a unique disturbance call that went out where a husband and wife were in a disturbance over a chicken,” she said.
She said she was willing to get vulnerable for the greater good.
“I hope it opens up that comfort level between police and the community,” she said. “We want them to be informed and feel comfortable enough to inform us of whatever is going on; there is no reason to live in fear or worry about us.”
The podcast is available on most apps where podcasts are available like Spotify and the Stitcher app. You can also follow the podcast's Facebook page here.