LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston neighbors, local merchants and police officers came together for coffee and conversation on Thursday at the third “Coffee with a Cop” event at Livingston Bagel, hosted by the Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce.
According to chamber president Ira Drucks, this event was a unique opportunity for both residents and business owners to voice their concerns and put faces to the names of local law enforcement. In addition to providing an opportunity for residents to meet the officers as well as township councilmen and other officials, Drucks said the chamber felt it was equally as important for business owners to get to know them.
“Most of our officers patrol by vehicle—we don’t have walking posts or areas where people can just walk up and speak to the officers,” said Chief of Police Craig Handschuch. “These events give a chance for the officers to get out of the cars, get into a nice setting like this, meet residents and business owners and just have a conversation about anything that’s on their mind.”
Cpt. Gary Marschuetz echoed the chief, stating that in this day and age, law enforcement officers understand how important it is to have a relationship with the public.
“We need to develop a partnership and then if people understand us and get to know us, they’re more likely to support us and understand why we do what we do and how we do it,” he said. “Then they become our eyes and ears and will be more likely to report suspicious activity.”
Different from a typical chamber event, this one did not have a formal agenda and sit-down breakfast. Instead, chamber members invited the police and the public for free coffee from 7:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. and were thrilled with the turnout.
“We always like to mix up the events,” said chamber board member Michael McMane. “Our number one thing for the chamber is networking, of course, but number two is getting out in the community.”
The next chamber networking event is a “Dine & Donate” at Calabria Restaurant & Pizzeria on March 16 benefitting FlyRed for Heart Disease from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.