FAIRFIELD, NJ — Fairfield residents and customers of Manhattan Bagel joined Fairfield police officers Wednesday morning at their annual Coffee with a Cop. The event is usually a national affair but not this year because of the pandemic. However, some police departments in the country have decided to continue with the tradition.

Fairfield Police Chief Anthony Manna said, “In an effort to continue building upon the strong relationship our department enjoys with the community, we felt that we wanted to engage in some form of community policing and to show our appreciation to the public.” 

Manna said, while Coffee with a Cop is an event showing our appreciation to the community, there will be another event on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hollywood Avenue Park where the public will be showing their appreciation and support for us. It is called “Back the Blue” and was organized by Carla Marras, coordinator of the local Community Emergency Response Team. Manna said that the Fairfield police will be there to keep the park safe and protect the first amendment rights of all participants.

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Michael Lattimer, member of the Fairfield Municipal Alliance Committee (FMAC) said that FMAC enjoys sponsoring this event every year, and he was happy that the weather was nice this year so that they were able to have it outside under the tents.

Gerard and Nicole Donatiello, who have supported Coffee with a Cop at Manhattan Bagel for the past five years, said, “We love and support our cops. We have the best police department around, and we do this every October to show thanks.”

Patty and Bob Stefanelli, who come to the event every year, said, “It’s a very nice thing the police do for the town. Our police are wonderful, and we enjoy being here with them. Coffee with a Cop is a good thing.”

Christie Pavlishin and James High, Sr., members of the West Essex First Aid Squad, also were present to show their support for the Fairfield Police Department.  

Nina Anderson, a nurse, who was out to just grab a cup of coffee, said “I like supporting the police department because I always see them out and about doing their job. I see them at the park, and they are always there to help.”

As to why Coffee with a Cop is not a national event this year, the United States Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, who support this national annual event said, “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and as a precaution against the spread, we are sad to announce this year’s Coffee with a Cop Day has been canceled. In spite of this cancellation, we at Coffee with a Cop remain committed to building stronger relationships between law enforcement and our community members.”