Cops share a cup of joe

By Steven Chua, The Squamish Chief
Original article HERE


“Why wait for a problem to be created?” said Cpl. Martin Janson, summing up the reason he decided to register Squamish RCMP in the Coffee With a Cop program.

So on the morning of March 8, the doors of Cloudburst Cafe opened up to the public, officers with java in their hands and locals with questions on their minds.

The program is just as it sounds – giving locals and officers a chance to meet over a free cup of coffee, courtesy of the District of Squamish.

Janson, who’s from Montreal, said the event helped form connections between officers and locals in his hometown and thought it would be a good idea to bring it to Squamish.

It’s always good to get to know people and establish trust between officers and civilians before a crisis occurs, he said.
Many people often have questions for police but sometimes feel shy about bothering officers, Janson said.
“They believe their concern is not legitimate and they should not waste police officer’s time,” he said. But this event allows the public to make queries that might not warrant a phone call to 911.

“[It’s] a great opportunity to get people to come to us,” he said.

“We’re there and ready to answer all these questions.”

Janson said he expected most people to have concerns about safety, but ended up talking about his day-to-day police work for most of the time.

Some locals even had ideas on how to help the police.“They’re proposing strategic plans for us to do our jobs, which is great,” Janson said.

For example, one idea participants brought up was to set up speeding cameras around Britannia Beach in the morning.

In 2011, the first Coffee With a Cop was hosted by the Hawthorne Police Department in California.

Since then, the event has been held across the United States and in Canada, Europe, Australia and Africa.

The next Coffee With a Cop event in Squamish is expected to be held later this year, though no fixed dates have been determined yet.