Tredyffrin police begin ‘coffee with a cop’

By Ginger Dunbar, Daily Local News
Original article HERE

Tredyffrin Community Policing Officer Joseph Butler holds up a “thank you” note from a child who visited the police during a “coffee with a cop” event on Tuesday evening.Tredyffrin police held a “coffee with a cop” for the second time at Starbucks on Tuesday evening to interact more with the public.

Coffee with a cop, a national program, began in California in 2011 as a way for police to interact more successfully with the citizens they serve each day. Tredyffrin Community Policing Officer Joseph Butler wanted to establish a coffee with a cop event to interact with the public and provide people with an opportunity to meet the officers. At the same time, a Starbucks manager had offered the venue in the Paoli section of Tredyffrin Township to a township officer, who came in as a patron, to use for community events.

“It just meshed,” Butler said.

The first event was held on a Saturday, which he said was well-attended. The police have a table set up with coloring books about safety messages and other items such as Chap Stick that has the police department name on it, as gifts for people who visit them.

He wanted to provide the community members with an opportunity to meet the officers and ask questions. He said many people ask about state laws or want to understand certain processes, or even just to say hello and get to know the officers.

“It’s important, we need to be out talking to people, not just during our patrols,” Butler said. “It’s a great opportunity to do this. We’re out on the street more. This is just part of it. This brings things to a level where the public can talk to us.”

Officer Rhonda Carroll said the event allows people to come in and meet them and see that “we’re people just like everyone else.”

Officer Brittany Rosenfeld said that such events can help create a relationship between the public and the police. As a new officer, she hopes to show people how the police can help them, and she enjoys interacting with the community members. She also likes the thrill of the job.

“It’s the best job in the world. You never know what you’re going to get to respond to,” Rosenfeld said. “You meet different people every day. I like that.”

Butler also enjoys the interactions and establishing a positive relationship with the younger generation. He enjoys “success stories” of positive outcomes in his line of work. His unit works closely with families that are dealing with issues stemming from the new “mandatory reporting” laws happening in the schools. Mandatory reporting is necessary for various reasons, most importantly for identifying improper discipline, neglect, and abuse. He explained that some investigations reveal that the parents are doing the “right thing,” while in other instances, they may be using inappropriate discipline or other concepts not conducive to a healthy and safe environment for children to thrive in. Having officers dedicated to these types of investigations frees up the patrol units for other needs, and he said it may help reduce reoccurring problems within a household. He listens to all sides, asks the family how he can help and what resources they need.

He said police are there to protect and serve, and that service includes talking with the community members, offering advice and helping them work through an issue when police are called.

“Service is something we’re concentrating on,” Butler said. “It’s one of the most important aspects of the job. We’re helping people.”