Coffee with a Cop welcomes residents to an open forum for questions and concerns with police
By Chris Funston, Woodstock Sentinel Review
Original article HERE
Woodstock police officers took a working coffee break to chat with residents and build community relationships during the first Coffee with a Cop session at McDonald’s on Thursday.
Representing the Woodstock Police Service were Deputy Chief Darren Sweazey and Const. Tyler Allard. The two officers listened to the community’s questions and concerns in a relaxed, open environment. The event was the first of three Coffee with a Cop sessions being held in Woodstock throughout the summer.
“It’s a great opportunity to have this forum. It’s very informal, unorganized – Which is what it’s supposed to be,” said Sweazey. “We work collaboratively with the citizens we serve, and this is an opportunity for us to receive their complaints as well as their praise.”
In order for any police service to be effective, Sweazey said the department has to work co-operatively with the citizens it serves.
“We can’t solve everything on our own. We need the eyes and ears of the public,” he said.
The deputy chief explained many residents brought forward issues and concerns within the community while others just wanted to say thank you – which he said he equally appreciates.
“It’s something we strive for – to support community involvement,” said Allard. “We love meeting and interacting with our community members, answering questions or advising them on things we’re doing and just engaging the community in a positive manor.”
Allard said he received a lot of positive feedback regarding educational pieces and initiatives the service has been providing, but also faced some complaints about a lack of stricter enforcement in the downtown core.
With the federal government recently passing a bill that will pave the way for legal cannabis, Allard explained he had a long conversation regarding the legislation surrounding recreational marijuana.
“A big concern was in regards to if people are allowed to smoke outside, the growing of plants, people who share living accommodations and residual smoke. We don’t have a lot of concrete information, but in October we’ll get that soon enough,” said Allard.
The next Coffee with a Cop session take place on July 20 at the Dundas Street location and then again at the Norwich Avenue McDonald’s on Aug. 1 from 10 a.m. to noon.