Residents have coffee with Tyler police and McGruff

By LouAnna Campbell, Tyler Morning Telegraph
Original article HERE

20180707_local_coffee_with_cops_4Some McDonald’s drive-thru customers in Tyler got a surprise greeting on Friday from Police Officer Chuck Boyce and his trusty sidekick McGruff.

The Coffee With Cops event took place at the McDonald’s on Old Jacksonville Highway. Customers enjoyed a free cup of coffee and the opportunity to talk to members of the Tyler Police Department.

Keith Simpson of Tyler said he saw the event posted on social media.

“I took my wife to work this morning,” Simpson said. “I decided to stop by.”

Simpson said he loves the community and decided to take the time to support the police officers.

“There are mistakes made on both sides of the law,” Simpson said. “But instead of getting peeved and angry with each other we need to work together.”

Franchise owner Kevin Lilly said he likes the event because it give people a chance to relate to police officers.

“This is a way to give people the opportunity to learn how the police can protect them,” Lilly said. “People can learn about the services available to the public and the guys love getting in the drive-thru window to talk to the customers.”

Lilly said he has gotten very positive feedback from the community about the event.

He also believes his restaurants serve as a safe place where officers can come in off of the streets and take a break or work on paperwork.

Events such as this have become a common way for police to interact with people in the community through informal communication in a relaxed environment.

Boyce said he takes the opportunity to get to know people.

“I relate to Mayberry,” Boyce said, referring to the fictional North Carolina town in “The Andy Griffith Show.” “Everyone in town knew Andy and Andy knew everyone.”

Boyce is never without his McGruff the Crime Dog puppet. He usually has it tucked into his patrol vehicle and takes him out to interact with children and other members of the community.

“I care,” Boyce said. “I give everyone my phone number. I’m just a phone call away and I bring (Officer) Luis (Aparicio) with me. He keeps me out of trouble.”