CHATHAM, NJ - It was one of the best settings anyone could hope for when meeting with a member of the police department: Inside a church building with plenty of coffee and doughnuts nearby.
The Chatham Borough Police Department held its first "Have Coffee with a Cop" event on Wednesday at Chatham United Methodist Church and residents who attended were happy to meet the men in blue.
"It's a great idea to have an open forum with the community," Laurie Nyilas, Chatham resident said.
Chatham Borough Police Chief Phil Crosson Jr. and Captain Brian Gibbons were on hand with other officers to meet and talk to residents.
"The idea is to have conversations with the community and the police officers," Rev. Jeff Markay, who helped set up the event, said. "Anything we can do to build bridges and communication in our community is a good thing. And when it's not under duress, it's a good thing."
Chief Crosson encourages residents to call the police for help, even if it is just something that seems suspicious.
"We count on them as much as they count on us," Crosson said. "They're the eyes and ears. If they're having problems this is a way for them to bring it to our attention so we can address it; improve the quality of life in all aspects.
"There are no agendas here. It's just everybody getting together. It gives residents a chance to reach out to us. Sometimes when we're out on the street we may look busy and be busy. It's just a good way for us to avail ourselves to the community and for them to avail themselves to us."