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Policing podcast profiles: Two Cops One Donut

This podcast is designed to reveal the full potential of true communication between cops and their communities through a long-discussion format

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By Police1 Staff

We recently shared a list of 12 podcasts every cop should add to their 2022 playlist. Following the publication of that article, we heard from a lot of other police podcasters who are broadcasting on the airwaves. Here’s the first in an occasional series of police podcaster profiles. If you would like to submit your podcast for consideration, email

This time we hear from Erik Lavigne, one of the voices behind Two Cops One Donut, which also airs as a videocast on YouTube.

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What prompted you to start a podcast?

While going for my master’s in criminology, I had to have a thesis. My thesis idea was to use social media as a tool to bridge the gap between citizens and police. This was triggered because a chief was in the news for telling his officer he could no longer use Facebook to communicate with his beat (the community). The citizens held a town hall meeting with the chief demanding the officer be allowed to continue using Facebook as a means of communication with them.

During the meeting, an 84-year-old woman stood up and said, “I’m 84 years old and I use Facebook to talk to my cops. If I’m using it, he needs to be using it.” That’s when the idea hit me. At the time of this idea, I wasn’t exactly sure how to use social media to make things better, but I knew it was an under-utilized tool. Admittedly, it took a couple of years to figure out how to use social media effectively as a tool.

Did you have any prior experience in producing audio/video?

I had zero experience. It was a big learning curve and I continue to learn something new every podcast. I am up to about 60 episodes so far and I am still learning. But everything was self-taught by using YouTube Tutorials. Don’t doubt yourself, YouTube will get you through!

What equipment do you use?

I have a lot of equipment. I dropped about $12k of my own money to try to see this vision come to reality. I currently have a gaming desktop PC, a newer MacBook Pro, four Rode PodMics, RODEcaster pro audio mixer, Logitech Brio 4k webcam, two Gator Frameworks boom arms, one Elgato P boom arm, Neewer three-piece lighting kit, Canon VIXIA HF G50 camcorder, two iPad pros, GoPro, Pocket 2 camera, Adobe Premiere Pro, Restream, Buzzsprout….that’s all I can think of off the top of my head.

What is the goal of your podcast?

I have been asked, “What exactly is the point of this show?” The answer is that social media is an underutilized tool not just by police but by firefighters, EMS personnel, nurses, the military, essentially those on the front line. This show is designed to reveal the full potential of true communication through a long discussion format to give a voice to those professions we do not often hear from.

Furthermore, it’s designed to show an authentic and genuine response rather than the tiresome “cops petting puppies” approach. We avoid sound bite narratives so first responders can provide fully articulated thoughts.

The idea is that the listeners, both inside and outside these career fields, can gain a realistic and genuine perspective to make informed opinions on the content.

The bridge doesn’t stop there, we want to eventually get pillars of communities that may not be police friendly. We want them to share their side so we can help police understand what needs to be fixed through the eyes of those they serve. Communication is key for both sides.

How do you find guests?

Networking through the course of my almost 18-year career in both the military and policing. I try to find guests who have unique perspectives or careers that people show a lot of interest in like SWAT, CIT and tactical medicine.

Are you doing anything unique with the podcast to connect with your audience?

I went with the wide-net approach. I use all the major platforms (Apple, Google, Amazon, Spotify, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok). However, I developed a unique approach by using Twitch. I don’t think it’s unique to use Twitch, but it is how I am using it that is unique in my opinion. I do body camera breakdowns by acting as though I am the officer taking the call. I walk people through what’s going on in my mind so people get a chance to see how a cop thinks as the call develops. During this, the audience is able to interact, because the sessions are live. They are able to ask questions and critique or praise the decision-making. It really shows people why cops make the decisions they do as they get to hear all the things running through our heads that lead up to the big decisions.

With that said, this is kind of separate from the podcast itself, but under the umbrella of the podcast. My podcast is done locally in my studio (aka my mancave) or remotely through Restream, so I can interview people outside my local area. That in itself makes the podcast more versatile. I was excited to interview a cop from London, England to discuss the cultural differences between our two policing styles.

What has been the feedback so far from your colleagues and the public?

The members of the public who follow the podcast are generally all pro-police. That is great, but I really want to reach those who have a healthy mistrust of police. I have slowly been breaking down barriers as people have reached out to me telling me exactly that. I just did an episode with a former anti-cop civilian who told me the show is the reason he changed his ACAB thinking. That has been my goal and it is examples like this that keep me going. It makes all that money dropped worth it. More importantly, my wife, who was not a fan of the cost of the show, supports me unconditionally due to examples like I mentioned.

What has been most surprising is the support from people I work with. Cops are our own worst critics. If you’ve done this job for a month, you know I’m right. I expected to get a lot of sarcastic comments from other cops, especially the ones I work with. However, it has been the complete opposite. To be honest, it was very humbling and has been the biggest motivator to continue. I work for one of the 12 largest departments in the nation and to have my chief and assistant chief tell me I am doing a great job was incredible. I didn’t even know they knew about it.

Now, any cops reading this, I need you to know and understand that I intentionally keep where I work separate from the podcast. I never mention it and keep it separate for good reason; I could potentially be fired if I make the department look bad. I am running a real risk by doing what I am doing. So, if you decide to do this, be aware it’s a calculated risk. I wholeheartedly believe in what I am doing and my wife and I have accepted what consequences could come.

What has been your favorite episode so far and why?

My favorite episode hands down is with Aaron Dyson. He was wrongly convicted for 24 years and won his own freedom after lawyers gave up. Now, I want people to know, he was a criminal, he did commit a criminal act; however, he was wrongly charged and kept in prison longer than a person who committed murder. On top of that, he used the rehabilitation of prison for all the right reasons. He did all this, knowing he was never getting out of jail with a 50-year sentence. Without giving away too much of the episode, Aaron had a never-quit attitude, made the best of it, and most importantly ALWAYS owned up to the crime he did commit. No excuses, he just turned his life into a positive. That is amazing. We also discussed where the criminal justice system is failing and where it is doing great.

What advice do you have for other police officers looking to launch a podcast?

First, know it’s a risk and you could be fired from your department. Keep it separate and never mix the two. Then, find your niche and run with it. You don’t need to spend the type of money I did to get started. It can be done with just your cellphone and a mic. But, if you’re going to do this, understand sound quality is the biggest make or break for people to listen to you. Get good sound quality and the rest will grow.

If you plan to introduce video as I did, things get much more complicated. Do your research. I bought a lot of stuff I no longer use because I didn’t research enough. Reach out to people who do podcasts and learn from their mistakes. Podcasters are a great supportive community, they are eager to help. If you have questions, email me at I’ll help you.

NEXT: Add Police1’s Policing Matters Podcast to your playlist.