PISCATAWAY, NJ -- The Piscataway Police Department held a "Coffee With A Cop" session Tuesday morning at the QuickChek on River Road in town.
Officers greeted customers with a smile as they walked in the door of the convenience store, offering coffee, hot chocolate, or tea and a chat. Flyers and forms were available on the table as well.
Coffee with a Cop began in 2011 in Hawthorne, Ca., to bring the community and law enforcement together to not only discuss problems and concerns in a more private and calm manner, but to also ask any questions, get to know the person behind the uniform, and build relationships and trust. Coffee with a Cop helps break down barriers in a relaxed and a positive environment where everyone has a voice.
"This was a nice opportunity for members of the community to stop in at a local business establishment to meet and greet with the police officers and have a little interaction over a cup of coffee," said Piscataway Capt. Michael McLaughlin to TAPinto Piscataway.
One lady, a Piscataway resident came up to McLaughlin and Lt. Frank Hackler to discuss traffic issues, but to also say what a great job everyone on the force does keeping the town safe.
"There's no crime," she said.
And speaking of traffic and doing a great job, roadways and respect were hot topics of discussion.
"Really just current trends in traffic, construction, and how to pretty much keep Piscataway moving," McLaughlin said on what was brought up by people. "Also just showing a general appreciation of the presence of the police here and thanking us for what we do."
While cops and law enforcement respond to 911 calls and patrol the streets, not everything can be prevented. That is why building trust, bonds, relationships, and discovering mutual goals are vital. McLaughlin hopes events and get togethers like these help with that.
"It's huge," McLaughlin said when asked how important it is to build a belief and assurance between officers and residents. "We can't do things all by ourselves, it takes a village to protect a village. So, members of the community talk to us, we talk to them, we let them know what is important to us as far as compliance with the law and let us know some of the things that are on their minds and we try to address those things."
Coffee with a Cop is a national initiative supported by The United States Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Similar events are being held across the country, as local police departments strive to make lasting connections with the communities they serve.
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