Coffee with A Cop pays off for Central Guam residents

By Krystal Paco, KUAM
Original article HERE

Coming soon to a McDonald’s near you – the Guam Police Department’s innovative Coffee with a Cop program today headed to Maite. Today’s outreach proving where you live can greatly affect your opinion on public safety.

McDonald’s isn’t only serving up free coffee, but smiles as central residents met for casual conversation with Guam’s men and women in uniform.

Among them, Barrigada resident Greg Barnes, who said, “I wanted to come because I appreciate the police.”  Now the fourth outreach of its kind, Chief of Police JI Cruz says the Coffee with a Cop program is proving to be a valuable tool to gauging public opinion on public safety.

“It’s more of us interacting with the community embedding ourselves to understand what the issues and what the needs are of the community,” he shared. “I will tell you to that point it’s interesting to hear that the needs of the residents in this part of the island differ from what we saw at the last Coffee with A Cop we had at Harmon.”

Residents up north expressed concerns about alcohol in the parks and bus stops as well as assaults and home invasions. The priorities in the central villages were more focused on highway safety. The chief said, “Some of the residents are asking for better lane markings on the roadways, some of the residents are asking for signage that shows what the speed limit is. Some of the residents are asking for speed bumps so motorists can slow down in the areas, sidewalks to be implemented so that when children are walking from the bus stops to and from school, so it’s a little bit safer for our children walking around.”

It’s safe to say residents like Barnes want more of the program, as he noted, “I like the program. I like the program a lot. I think that is one of the things they’re doing well. What’s going on in the country is there’s generally a lot of crap that the police get. A lot of people aren’t appreciating the police, but they’re the ones who are going to come to your house in case there’s any trouble, so why are we making trouble for them?

“I think that a lot of districts around the nation could learn from this program.”

Coffee with a Cop will head to the Yigo McDonald’s next month.