Citizens engage with city officers


Friday, October 30, 2015 2:00 pm

Felicia Cummings/The Union-Recorder

Members of the Milledgeville community came out to The Local Yolkal Thursday morning to interact with the city’s police officers and detectives during the Milledgeville Police Department’s Coffee with a Cop program.

“The purpose of Coffee with a Cop is to break down any barriers that may exist between law enforcement and the citizens we serve,” said Milledgeville Police Chief Dray Swicord.

The community relationship-building program is practiced by police departments nationwide.

“It’s always a good way for us to communicate with the community in an informal setting that allows both officers and citizens to feel more comfortable engaging in discussions,” said Maj. John Davis, MPD patrol commander.

Coffee with a Cop provides an opportunity for community members to ask questions and learn more about the department’s work in Milledgeville’s neighborhoods.

MPD’s last Coffee with a Cop event was in the summer of 2014 at Chic-fil-A.

The most recent Coffee with a Cop session at Local Yolkal had a large turnout.

The local breakfast and lunch café was filled with people as citizens both young and old engaged MPD officials in conversation.

“Coffee with a Cop was a big success for us,” said Officer Linc Boyer. “It gave us a chance to speak to a lot of different people within our community. A lot of times when we’re speaking with citizens, it’s in high-stress emergency situations. This was a great opportunity for citizens to voice their concerns and just ask general questions.”

Members of the community and Georgia College students spoke with both MPD officers and detectives on various topics.

“We had a wide range of ages, from college students up to senior citizens, and it was interesting to hear what each person had on their mind,” Boyer said.

For Detective Marquita Driskell, she found it interesting that so many of GC’s college students were well versed in political and law enforcement issues surrounding Milledgeville and Baldwin County.
“It was surprising to see that a lot of the college students were well informed and interested in what was going on in Milledgeville. A lot of them told us they were registered voters in Baldwin County and that they are active in community affairs in Milledgeville,” she said.
Some students expressed to officials their desire to learn more about law enforcement careers through courses and activities on campus.

“It was overall a great time spent talking to our citizens. We truly enjoy serving the citizens of Milledgeville, and we will continue to work hard at protecting and serving them,” Boyer said.

At the conclusion of Coffee with a Cop, due to the overwhelming success of the event, Davis and Local Yolkal owner, Cliff Charnes, discussed possibly hosting future sessions at the café.

Coffee with a Cop is a national initiative supported by The United States Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

It was first launched in Hawthorne, Calif., in 2011, as a result of a brainstorming session by police officers.

Members of the Hawthorne Police Department were looking for ways to interact more successfully with the citizens they served each day. In less than three years, Coffee with a Cop events have been hosted in more than 2,000 communities in 49 states and is one of the most successful community oriented policing programs across the country, said officials.