Citizens have informal chat with cops over coffee

By Tom Morrison, Chathan This Week
Original article HERE

Members of the Chatham-Kent Police Service got back to their “grassroots” of community policing by chatting with the public over coffee Wednesday, said the area’s police chief.

The service held its second Coffee with a Cop event at a Chatham McDonald’s with about seven officers of different ranks available to answer questions or get to know residents.

“It’s all about networking, but probably the most important thing is we’re able to interact with the public in an informal manner,” said Chief Gary Conn. “It gives us an opportunity to field a lot of questions, concerns, which is good, because not everybody is aware of all the facts or what exactly we do or the services that we provide.”

Some people mentioned they weren’t aware of a new security camera registry or online reporting, he said.

Conn said he had people raise issues over cannabis legalization and aggressive and distracted driving.

“It’s a plethora of issues that people want to discuss and it’s nice that we can discuss those issues over coffee,” he said. “They feel more at easy and so do the officers, quite frankly.”

Andrea Emrich said she often attends the McDonalds for morning coffee with her husband Martin and said it was “nice” to get to know some officers assigned to the area.

“You ask them what are their challenges in the community and with the weather and all this, accidents, if they’re busier this time of the year,” she said. “A lot of them, because they’re from the community, you know them so you can just talk to them and you’re not afraid to approach them because they’re friendly.”

Emrich said she also appreciated seeing police officers with different jobs, such as traffic enforcement or detective, attend the event.

Conn said a third event is being planned for the Wallaceburg area in late February or early March. He said a couple of officers from the Wallaceburg substation will come out for a coffee.