offee with a Cop brings together officers, community

By Brandon L. Summers, The Dickinson Press
Original article HERE

Dickinson Police Department officers met with members from the community and Edgewood Hawks Point residents Thursday for the year's first Coffee with a Cop event. The events are held quartly at different locations across Dickinson. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)Dickinson Police Department officers met with the community and Edgewood Hawks Point residents Thursday for the year’s first Coffee with a Cop event.

The event coincided with National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.

Coffee with a Cop is usually held quarterly in various public locations across Dickinson, Sgt. Brandon Stockie explained.

“We get with community members and mingle, talk about, if there are any issues, what those issues are, and just to meet people and have them meet cops,” he said.

Hawks Point offered to host the first event of 2020. Life Enrichment Director Sharon Wallace called the afternoon “awesome.”

“I’m so happy with the turnout, and our residents and also people from the community were so happy to come here and visit with the officers, and they were so kind and cordial,” Wallace said. “It was a great afternoon.”

All DPD members are invited to participate and many of them often do, Stockie said.

“The whole PD is invited. These are the guys who are working today,” he said. “Usually it’s the patrol shifts that work, and administration and investigative will come.”

Stockie enjoys many things about the events.

“It’s meeting new people, talking to people, seeing people in our community that I will not usually see or deal with on a day-to-day-basis,” he said.

Hawks Point residents especially enjoyed the event Thursday, Wallace said.

“They love to just converse with the officers and talk to them, and feel that they know that they’re safe in the community,” she said.

The informal events usually inspire casual conversation.

“It’s just chit-chat stuff,” Stockie said. “We’ll just talk about the weather or where I’m from, or how long I’ve been a cop, where they’re from. Those kind of questions are common.”

DPD Chief Dustin Dassinger said he enjoys being able to engage with the community in a positive way.

“We love doing these,” he said. “It’s nice getting into facilities like this and reminiscing with the people, especially people who can’t get out and about on days like this. We enjoy doing this, and it’s a huge part of our community programs, and we hope to do more of them in the future.”

Dassinger particularly enjoyed being able to reconnect with people Thursday.

“I recognize a lot of the people from my hometown,” he said. “It’s nice visiting with them and seeing them.”

It’s important for officers to engage with the community on a personal level, Capt. David Wilkie said.

“Most people don’t have any interactions with police officers unless it’s official business, which means they’ve done something wrong or something wrong’s been done to them,” he said. “We do these events, we get to talk to people, share our personal stories and hear their stories. It’s a very positive interaction between us.”

Not only do people get to see officers as “regular Joes,” it’s a chance for officers to be “regular Joes” with the community in kind, Wilkie said.

“A lot of the officers haven’t had that opportunity yet to be as involved in the community,” he said. “This gives them a better opportunity to meet some of these people and just be a normal person, and let people see they’re just someone doing a job.”

At the end of the event, Hawks Point presented DPD officers with a cake to thank them for their service to the community.