CK residents embrace Coffee with a Cop event

By Greg Higgins, Blackburn News
Original article HERE

Parents brought their kids out to the Coffee with a Cop event in Chatham so they can get better antiquated and more comfortable with law enforcement. January 23, 2019. (Photo by Greg Higgins)Over 100 residents came out to meet local police officers and voice their concerns at an inaugural event in Chatham.

Coffee with a Cop was held at the McDonald’s on St. Clair Street between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Wednesday. It was a chance for the public to meet with officers in an informal, face-to-face setting and either just shoot the breeze or voice legitimate concerns.

Dave Elliott and his wife brought a few of her daycare students to the event as a way to get better acquainted with law enforcement.

“I just like the kids to meet them and feel comfortable with them, especially at a young age,” Elliott said. “I work a lot with the scouts so it is really important that our youth learn how to meet different individuals in the community and learn how to talk to them. If a kid ever has an issue and they’re comfortable with [the police] they’ll talk to them.”

While Elliott came out specifically for the event, there were regulars who were surprised but still took advantage of the opportunity. Andrea and Marty Emrich said they go to the McDonald’s every morning and knew the event was coming up but didn’t realize it was on Wednesday.

“I know a few of them personally so it is nice to sit down and chat and see how their day is going,” Andrea said. “It’s nice to see the [officers’] and the community’s concerns and how they can help in a positive way because there’s always negative things said about the police department. It’s also nice to see all the kids mingling with the police officers and asking them questions.”

Constable Renee Cowell was in attendance and said she wasn’t sure how many people were regulars or who showed up for the event, but she thought it was a success regardless. She added it was a great opportunity for the public to express their issues and for police to listen to them first hand.

“We have had some traffic concerns as well as some break and enters that people are experiencing,” Cowell said. “We have seen a few families here this morning with the bus cancellations. It is always great when we have the opportunity to speak to kids. We never want them to be afraid of us. We want them to recognize the uniform and know they can come talk to us anytime.”

Cowell added there are plans to hold more Coffee with a Cop events across the municipality so all residents get a voice and a chance to express their concerns.