The thin brew line: Chief connects with community through Coffee with a Cop

By Greg Olson, My Journal Courier
Original article HERE

Jacksonville’s new police chief mingled with the crowd at Hardee’s restaurant Wednesday, reaching out to strangers and greeting some old friends and family.

Positive interaction between the general public and the police is something that Adam Mefford believes is important. Mefford and several other city police officers attended Coffee with a Cop, which provides an opportunity for people to sit down and talk with police officers.

Mefford, who was named police chief March 27, said he has had some positive comments about the police department since taking over as chief.

“Most of the comments I’ve received since I became chief have been congratulatory so far,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of positive feedback on the police department’s vision on expanding community policing. And I’ve had a lot of positive feedback on expanding training for officers and the use of our new training center, as well as using social media to reach a broader audience.”

One person who was pleased to see the new police chief at Hardee’s was Jere Scott of Springfield.

“It’s a pleasant surprise to meet and greet the new police chief,” said Scott, a former Jacksonville police sergeant who gets together with a group of retired law enforcement officers — primarily from Morgan and Scott counties — once a month.

“I had never met Adam [Mefford] before, but he made me feel like an old friend,” he said. “I wish him well. A lot of times, it’s a thankless job, but the rewards of being a police officer are great when you help somebody.”

Henry Rosenberger of Waverly said Coffee with a Cop is a great idea.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing that police officers come out and meet the public,” said Rosenberger, an Illinois state police trooper from 1967 to 1993. “It promotes good will between the community and the police department, and we certainly need that today more than ever. I think Adam [Mefford] is a community-minded police chief, and I think that will serve him well.”

Another Coffee with a Cop attendee was Jim Robson of Jacksonville, who served as Morgan County sheriff from 1994 to 2006.

“Back when I was a Jacksonville police officer, Charlie Runkel was chief of police, and one of the things he strongly believed in was community policing,” Robson said. “In the 1960s, every Friday and Saturday night, two city police officers would patrol the Jacksonville square on foot, talk to the public and get to know store employees. I think Coffee with a Cop is very beneficial in that it shows the community that police are here to provide information about law enforcement.”