Grab a cup of coffee with a cop

Oxford police invite community to air concerns in an informal setting
Jun. 05, 2014 @ 07:35 PM

OXFORD — Getting together to sip coffee is a popular pastime. People congregate to have coffee with their friends. They enjoy coffee breaks at work.

On Thursday, members of the Oxford Police Department met at Bojangles’ on Lewis Street to use that kind of relaxed atmosphere to be available to anyone who wanted to talk with them.

It was the second installment of the department’s iteration of the national Coffee with a Cop program.

“It’s a way of bringing the community together with the police,” said Detective Rodrick Fields, a 20-year veteran of the force. “They can tell us their concerns about the neighborhood they live in or concerns they have. They can get answers.”

The endeavor allows residents to chat with officers in an informal setting.

“People talk to us all the time,” Officer Mark West said. “I can’t think of a day that goes by that someone doesn’t talk to me. This is going the extra mile.”

Those stopping in for breakfast or just a cup of coffee liked of the premise of Coffee with a Cop.

“It’s a good idea,” said Danny Bowling, a Granville County resident. “If anybody has a question, they can get an answer without going to the police department. It creates good relations with the police.”

Others appreciated the ability to connect with officers.

“You can ask questions,” said Loretta Hunt, who was there with her husband, Connell. “It gives you a chance to voice your concerns.”

A group called Citizens in Action sat around a table. Corene Norman, who is retired from Murdoch Center, said Coffee with a Cop is consistent with the goals of her organization.

“We watch our neighborhoods and report things like illegal activity,” she said. “Officers attend our meetings.”

She said the group meets monthly on fourth Tuesdays.

Coffee with a Cop is a national program designed to increase communication between officers and the public. Residents can voice their concerns without making an official report, which often is a deterrent to open communication.

The first session in Oxford was held at McDonald’s in February, and the department plans to hold more sessions in the future.

 

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.