Rice: PVPD’s ‘Coffee with a Cop’ is a benefit for all

By Trudy Thompson Rice, Paradise Valley Independent
Original article HERE

Sitting down, face to face, is the best way to get to know somebody. When is the last time you did that with a neighbor? Or with a cop?

The Town of Paradise Valley Police Department offers a Coffee with a Cop experience every first Wednesday of the month at 7:30 a.m. at the police station.

A specialist will discuss trends or community concerns followed by one-on-one opportunities to speak with your local police over a cup of coffee.

John Graham makes it happen in his neighborhood and he encourages you to do the same.

“It’s easy to do and everybody benefits,” said the 20-year town resident. “I’ve found that our police chief and our officers are always open to a call from any of us. They make it clear that they are glad to hear from us, and work with us to keep all of us safe.”

John is an active member of the Casa Blanca Estates Homeowners’ Association Board, and organizes Coffee with a Cop at the annual HOA meetings.

Another resident, Tim Dickman, recognized the heightened alertness of neighbors after a recent crime affected his neighborhood.

Tim hosted an informal gathering to debrief the incident by inviting local police to attend at his house.

“Just wanted to say thank you for taking some time to meet with our neighborhood group last evening. The feedback was incredibly positive. The information was very useful,” he said to officers.

Chief of Police, Peter Wingert, said, “We make it a priority to get to know our residents, and we’re happy to attend neighborhood meetings. You don’t have to wait for a formal meeting if you have a question or need some help. Save our non-emergency line in your phone at 480-948-7410 if you should need us and remember that our 9-1-1 operators are the quickest way to reach us in any emergency.”

Community Resource Officer Steven McGhee emphasizes that officers want to hear from residents who have questions or need help — “It doesn’t have to involve a criminal matter for us to get involved,” he said.

“If your kids have questions about police, call us. We’ll come by and introduce ourselves, and help them feel comfortable with us. We visit schools in Town on Wednesdays during the school year and we visit other groups during the summer.”

Summer is also a time that the Town’s residents complete Vacation Watch requests.

“Go to our website or come by the station and fill out your Vacation Watch request. This will let us know when you will be away, who has your permission to be on your property, and how to reach a trusted local contact in case of a problem while you are away,” said Officer McGhee.

Officers or trained police volunteers will attempt to check on your property once a week while you are away, but the department also encourages you to ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your home, notifying us immediately if anything seems out of ordinary. If extra attention is needed to your property, private security is recommended.

John Graham couldn’t agree more.

“We are the eyes and ears of our town. We’re all part of the same community, and keeping it safe and a great place to live means all of us need to work together. Get to know your neighbors and your police officers, and we all benefit.”