“The library contacted me and asked if I would consider it,” said Laux, longtime chief. “I happily accepted because anytime citizens can meet with police officers and openly discuss topics of interest and concern, it fosters trust and respect.”
Coffee with a Cop aims to break down barriers and build relationships between residents and police, all in a casual setting. The first event was in Hawthorne, Calif., in 2011.
The informal event is meant to bring issues to light, Laux said. Also, it gives officers the chance to share details of their duties with people.
“It makes for a better community,” he said. “I hope that people will enjoy the opportunity to speak to me about any issue they may have, and I look forward to speaking to people about what we do on a daily basis.”
Sharpsburg police have hosted several similar events, with Chief Tom Stelitano saying the national program is a good way to engage with the public without distractions.
Stelitano said he often stops to talk with people on the street and he wants people to feel his officers approachable as well.