Casual chat with the cops over coffee

Jan 16 • Feature Story, Local NewsNo Comments on Casual chat with the cops over coffee

Chatham-Kent police Const. Renee Cowell, left, shares a coffee with Jorden Myers, general manager of McDonald’s on St. Clair Street in Chatham in advance of the Coffee with a Cop event slated for Jan. 23 at the restaurant. The morning event is a casual opportunity for citizens to meet rank-and-file police officers and informally discuss policing in C-K. Each participant is eligible for a free small coffee, courtesy of McDonald’s.

In an effort to create casual conversation with the public, the Chatham-Kent Police Service is holding Coffee with a Cop this month.

The event takes place Jan. 23 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at McDonald’s on St. Clair Street in Chatham.

Const. Renee Cowell said the informal event is to connect police officers with members of the community.

“It’s really designed to bring police officers together with the public; to bring officers together with the communities we serve,” she said, adding the plan is to shift the event around to other C-K communities throughout the year. “It’s a great opportunity for citizens to talk to their local police officers and share their concerns.”

Cowell added most interaction between the public and police is done in difficult circumstances, often a crisis situation. Coffee with a Cop allows for more casual interaction and communication.

“We are hoping this initially generates positive discussions. This is not meant to be a forum for public complaints,” she said.

Cowell said personnel attending Coffee with a Cop this month are strategically chosen from different ranks and units to best answer questions and concerns from the public. They will include Chief Gary Conn, personnel from the traffic unit, the mobile crisis unit, community mobilization, recruiting, and court security.

“We want to make sure we have the best possible people on hand to answer the community’s questions or to talk to them about their concerns,” Cowell said. “We want to hear the community’s thoughts on how to better serve and protect our community.”

Cowell said officers will also share crime prevention tips.

She added no appointment is necessary. Just show up and take part.

“Just be ready to get to know members of your police service,” she said.

The concept is not a new one. Cowell said it’s one that has been done elsewhere.

“The concept originally was developed in California,” Cowell said. “Now, it’s one of the largest community/police ideas in the world. I heard other neighbouring police services were doing it and thought we should bring it to Chatham-Kent.”

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