Gulfport Police enjoy coffee, donuts with community

By Desirae Duncan, WLOX
Original article HERE

Conversation and donuts – it was a winning combination Wednesday morning during the Gulfport police ‘Donut with a Cop’ event. The coffee was hot and the donuts fresh, all in an effort by the police department to get the conversation brewing.

“One of the most essential things we do in law enforcement is make sure we have a relationship with the people we serve,” said Chief Leonard Papania. “And these opportunities that we really try to take advantage of.”

For the Seaney’s, ‘Donut with a Cop’ is a family affair. Wednesday’s event was their third one.

“It is very important to me to make sure my girls know who is working to serve them on a daily basis, and who they can trust in their neighborhood, in their community, when they need help,” said Wendy Seaney, who brought her daughters to the event.

Not only was it a chance for her youngest one to enjoy some yummy sweets, but it was also an opportunity for Ryenn, 12, and Landrey, 8, to learn more about what it means to wear the badge.

“I want to be a police officer,” said Landrey. “Because they wear awesome stuff, and they get to save people’s lives.”

“I met a police officer that was in the Navy Reserves also, and that’s what I want to do is be a police officer and be in the Navy Reserves,” said Ryenn.

Kids weren’t the only ones asking questions. Teresa Gatpatan wanted to learn more about firearm laws.

“I do have a permit to carry, and a hands-to-carry (permit), but I still have questions every now and then that I want to ask someone in person,” Gatpatan said.

That communication is what Chief Papania says is most important.

“You can look around the nation and see where there are departments that have lost that connection with their community, and it’s just a bad situation,” said Chief Papania. “And we recognize that and we work daily to make sure we don’t air that way.”

Next Wednesday on Feb. 7, you can enjoy King Cake with a Cop at PJ’s Coffee in downtown Gulfport from 7-9 a.m.