Coffee and conversation with Fitchburg police
By George Barnes, Telegram
Original article HERE
While Moran Square Diner owner Chris Giannetti whipped up a batch of eggs and bacon for a customer Wednesday morning, Police Officer Jeffrey Hurley took a position at the counter, drinking a mug of coffee and chatting with customers of the historic restaurant.
Officer Hurley, a member of the Police Department Community Engagement Unit, was visiting the 77-year-old Worcester-style diner as part of the Coffee With a Cop initiative. It is a national effort to bring police and community members together over coffee. Fitchburg is trying it out for a month, with coffee stops at various shops each Wednesday.
“This is the third week we have done it,” said Officer Hurley. “Last week we were also at the Moran Square Diner.”
The first they set up in the public space at the downtown transportation center.
“Mostly people complain about issues in the neighborhood, and talk one on one to see if something can get done,” he said. “I had a lady talk to me (last week) about somebody selling drugs in the neighborhood at a certain house.”
There was not much talk of neighborhood problems Wednesday, but more about a celebrity who visited the diner on Tuesday.
“We had Stephen Baldwin in here yesterday,” Mr. Giannetti said, who added that the diner is no stranger to famous people, having served former Sens. Ted Kennedy and Scott Brown.
Mr. Baldwin, the youngest of the acting Baldwin brothers, was in Fitchburg filming a segment for his new television series, “The GAP: Great American Pilgrimage.” He stopped by the diner for a coffee with City Council candidate Sam Squalia and Max Keiser of “The Keiser Report.” What those in the diner Wednesday got a chuckle about was the series is being funded in part by the Russian government.
Although he doesn’t have the star power of a Baldwin, for a few hours on Wednesday Officer Hurley was a celebrity in the diner, visiting with locals and enjoying breakfast. City Councilor Joel Kaddy, a former police officer, stopped in to say hello. A group from Arc of Opportunity social service agency also joined him. Fitchburg Officer Antonio Pennetti dropped in for a short while, but he was on patrol duty and had to leave on a call.
It was a few hours of good coffee, good food and a chance to visit a classic old diner.