Officers always eat free at some KFC's in the state

GALLIPOLIS, Ohio (WSAZ) - KFC restaurants in Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio have gone viral because of signs posted outside of the restaurants.

A sign on the door of the Gallipolis, Ohio KFC reads, "All Uniformed Police Officers Eat Free Everyday All Day."

The franchise owner, who is located in Ashland, Kentucky, says he has received positive calls from all over the country.

"Law enforcement across the country from Miami, California and different agencies, calling us just to thank us for what we're doing for our local law enforcement," said Doug Knipp. "We're hoping this catches on and hopefully goes nationwide."

At last check, a Facebook photo of the sign had nearly 10,000 likes and 6,000 shares. It went viral on the Ohio Going Blue Facebook page.

Knipp says he is doing this at all of his KFC restaurants in the tri-state including these locations: Huntington, West Virgina; Pikeville, Kentucky; Ashland, Kentucky; Grayson, Kentucky; Hazard, Kentucky; Burlington, Ohio; Gallipolis, Ohio; Jackson, Kentucky; Prestonsburg, Kentucky; Morehead, Kentucky; Wayne, West Virginia; Paintsville, Kentucky; and Louisa, Kentucky.

"It's what's going on in our country today that we all need everybody's help and we want to step up," said Knipp.

Knipp greeted a group of Ashland Police Officers and Boyd County Sheriff's Deputies Thursday at the Ashland location on Winchester Avenue.

"You guys are putting your life on the line for us," said Knipp. "Any time you're on duty, it's just our way of saying thank you."

"I think it's a wonderful idea," a customer said. "I know it makes you feel safer to come and eat, I can tell you that."

Ashland Police Chief Todd Kelley said this is not only a kind gesture towards officers, but will help improve community-police relations.

"Our ability to get out and work with the community and them work with us, it's a two way street," said Kelley. "We're very appreciative he's [Knipp] taken the initiative, the first big step, in partnering with us."

Kelley was just recently promoted to chief and says one of his missions is to get his officers out in the community more. He says he hopes people will stop by and talk to the officers at KFC, whether it's to talk about a problem, ask a question or even just ask for directions. He says they are there to help and he hopes this is only the beginning.

"Hopefully that will initiate other partnerships within the community," said Kelley.