Coffee with a Cop connects citizens, law enforcement

By Josh Harbour, The Garden City Telegram
Original article HERE

20170414 gct coffee with a cop2

Garden City Police chief Mike Utz knows all too well that a majority of the time when a citizen interacts with their local police department, it is when they are pulled over or when officers are called to their house for various reasons.

One way the Garden City Police Department is trying to break down the barrier between the community and police officers is with its “Coffee with a Cop” sessions.

Thursday marked the second session and was held in the St. Catherine Hospital cafeteria. The first was in February at Patrick Dugan’s Coffee House, Utz said.

“It’s a great opportunity for folks in the community to sit down with their law enforcement in the community and get to know each other and who we really are,” Utz said.

Troy Davis, senior master patrol officer and community services officer in the community response division for the GCPD, said he discovered Coffee with a Cop after seeing the Hawthorne Police Department in California do something similar.

“They like sharing their program in not just just the nation, but now it’s going on across the world,” Davis said. “This is just another opportunity for citizens and the police to get together over a simple cup of coffee and talk.”

Nearly 75 people, comprised of hospital employees, local police officers and community members attended the event, which initially was planned to be held in Mosaic’s Solid Ground Coffee Shop, but was moved to the cafeteria for a larger space. Those in attendence visited with each other and enjoyed a free breakfast.

Nathan Sheridan, pastor of the First Assembly of God Church in Garden City who also serves as the chaplain for the GCPD, attended the event with his son, Jonathan, to show his support for the community.

“It brings awareness to our brothers and sisters in blue and lets them be humanized,” Sheridan said. “Sometimes, you only see them when they’re pulled up behind you or running to the scene of an accident or crime. This gives a chance for my son and others to kind of humanize the badge a little bit and interact with them at a different level.”

Jonathan, 7, said he was having fun talking with the officers. His favorite part was simply “all of it,” he said with a smile.

Shawna Deal, community relations coordinator for St. Catherine Hospital, said the event gave the hospital’s associates the chance to get to know local police.

“We do work with them on a daily basis through the emergency department and things like that,” Deal said, adding that events like Coffee with a Cop are important for the community, so people know that officers are here to serve and protect.

When asked if there should be more events like Coffee with a Cop in the community, Nathan Sheridan said, “Absolutely.”

“It brings awareness to the men and women who not only serve this community, but live in this community. Their kids go to our schools, they shop at our stores and go to our church, so this is their home,” Sheridan said. “It’s something that is personal to me. I have six individuals in my family that serve in law enforcement. I’m not able to be close to them and be by them, so I can interact with these guys and ladies. We love our city, love our community and love our PD.”

Davis said the idea is to have Coffee with a Cop at a new location every month, adding that the next one will be at the Law Enforcement Center on May 19, following the Peace Officers Memorial Ceremony.

“Everybody will be invited for Coffee with a Cop, inside for refreshments and a tour of the police department,” Davis said.