Northbrook cops have ‘coffee’ with residents at informational session

By Karie Angell Luc, Pioneer Press
Original article HERE

Coffe Cop- chiefThe Northbrook Police Department’s recent Coffee with a Cop session drew a large turnout at Covenant Village retirement home in the north suburb.

The March 21 meet and greet was an opportunity for residents to learn about what Northbrook police personnel do.

“The squad car is their mobile office,” police Chief Roger Adkins said about officers assigned to patrol.

The hourlong afternoon program included refreshments and an informal question and answer session.

“We just wanted them to know that we’re here in the community for them,” Adkins said. “We want them to know that we care and we wanted to visit with them.”

Personnel represented included staff trained as officers, detectives and in social work.

“We do respond out in the community for emergencies,” said Nancy Vaccaro, director of counseling services, providing case examples such as elder abuse, family neglect, domestic battery, runaway children, substance abuse or financial crimes.

She explained that the police department’s hope is that if community and family connections could be made, maybe law enforcement could stop some problems before they get “pretty serious.”

“So that’s our goal as social workers working with the police department,” Vaccaro said.

Comments by attendees included concerns such as what to do about managing unwanted telemarketing phone calls likely targeted at senior citizens.

“Well, we get a lot of phone scams here, an awful lot of those,” said Northbrook resident Joan Olsen of Northbrook. “It’s ridiculous and very upsetting.”

Barbara Burswold, of Northbrook, said telephone scammers “don’t care.”

Burswold said she gets unwanted phone calls about, “everything, from my electric bill needs to be fixed, to that my air ducts need cleaning, just all sorts of stuff.

Burswold said the calls are “annoying.”

To avoid becoming a victim, residents were reminded to be aware and to not be pressed to divulge information or to release money.

“I will say this,” said Thomas Moore, community relations supervisor with the Northbrook police. “If you ever get anyone who calls you and wants you to pay them with gift cards, iTunes gift cards, or Google gift cards, do not do it. That’s a scam.”

Adkins said the elderly are often going to be susceptible to that type of crime.

A highlight of the session was a visit by Northbrook’s K-9 Pongo, a male German shepherd born in the Czech Republic on April 16, 2016.

“Oh my God, I’m in love with Pongo,” said Grace Lee, a Northbrook resident who sat on the floor to spend up close time with the canine. “I’m a total dog person, obviously.”

The Northbrook Police Department had its first police canine placed into service in the early 1970s. And Adkins said the department would continue to have a K-9 unit “as long as the village gives me funds.”

Pongo is trained in illegal drug detection, building search, obedience, article search, apprehension of suspects plus area tracking and search, officials said.

“He is one hell of a partner on the street,” Adkins said about Pongo.

Pongo began working in Northbrook with his handler, Officer Dave Humphries, in August 2017.

“He’s pretty much my best friend now,” Humphries said openly about Pongo.

Alayne Johnson said she enjoyed Coffee with a Cop.

“We need to be friends with the police, with everybody,” said Johnson, a resident of the retirement home.