KCPD officers become first participants in Visit KC’s new Visitor Influencer Program

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When it comes to knowing what's going on around town and when, some police officers are becoming influential insiders.

There soon will be more help for visitors looking for unique experiences that create lasting memories.

Tourism generates millions of dollars in spending for Kansas City businesses. And Visit KC wants to make sure that when people come here, they enjoy the best of what we have to offer.

"Ultimately we could have an amazing website, we could have the best information on Kansas City ever, we could continue to book these incredible conventions coming to Kansas City, but when a visitor gets here, it’s that interpersonal one-on-one experience and interaction that’s gong to make those memories for them," said Ashley Patton, of Visit KC. "That interaction will be their impression of Kansas City."

To that end, the agency has created the VIP, or Visitor Influencer Program, training people who are passionate about Kansas City how to direct visitors when they're looking for a good place to eat or something unique to do.

Police officers are the first to get this training and a natural fit to become VIPs because they're often asked for recommendations by out-of-towners.

"The officers who are out in the field, out and about, they will get requests for restaurant recommendations, where the good hotels are, what’s fun to do in town, all of those things," said Sgt. Jake Becchina, one of the officers receiving the VIP training. "A lot of people really enjoy that. Most of us, we are all really proud of Kansas City. We are all very proud of KCPD. To be able to show off that to people who come in from out of town or even the surrounding areas, we are very proud to be able to do that."

More than 2,000 restaurants, hotels and attractions are members of Visit KC, and even if you were born and raised here, you probably will learn about places you didn't know about in the VIP program.

The agency will offer it to front line hospitality workers or virtually anyone who has civic pride and wants to help boost the community.

Police officers say one of the most difficult questions they get is: Where's the best barbecue? There's no one answer to that in Kansas City. Personal preferences have created a wide variety of options.