Coffee with cops: Local residents meet with Tupelo police officers

By William Moore, Daily Journal
Original article HERE

Adam Robison | Buy at Tupelo resident Edna White talks with Tupelo Police officer Richard Franklin and Maj. Jackie Clayton during the Coffee with a Cop gathering at Life Changing Ministries on Friday morning in Tupelo. The informal gathering allowed residents to share a cup of coffee and conversation with officers.

Residents got a chance to talk with Tupelo Police officers in an informal setting Friday morning during Coffee with a Cop.

Instead of meeting officers during a traffic stop or while filing a report after a house burglary, the gathering put officers and citizens together in a non-threatening, non-stressful surrounding.

“We wanted to give people a chance to sit down and talk with an officer, a chance to get to know them,” said organizer Sgt. Katarsha White of the Tupelo Police Department.

The 90-minute event, the first one in recent history, drew a handful of citizens who showed up to thank the officers.

“I missed the first one and wanted to be able to thank them for their service,” said Ann Karoly. “Our neighbor’s son is an officer and when he visits in his patrol car, we feel safer.”

Lorenzo Mayfield said he has known several officers for years and was thrilled to get a chance to share a cup of coffee with members of the police force.

“It’s been real enjoyable talking to them,” Mayfield said. “I look forward to getting to do this again.”

Edna White attended just to show her appreciation of the police and all they do to protect citizens like her.

While officers and city officials outnumbered the citizens at Friday’s event, officials hope more people will show up at future events.

“We were glad to come, but they need to have these more often so folks will know about it,” said Herman Martin.

According to TPD support services director Capt. Terry Sanford, the plan is to start having the coffees on a more regular basis so that citizens will become more accustomed to the events and have a chance to interact with officers.

“We want to try to start doing this every other month,” Stanford said. “We have several other churches already interested in hosting them.”

Friday’s event was held at Life Changing Ministries on South Thomas Street. McDonald’s provided coffee, orange juice and sausage and biscuits.