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West Point PD to hold Coffee with a Cop

WEST POINT — Officers with the West Point Police Department are bringing back an old favorite this Thursday to the Virginia Cook Activity Center.

WPPD will host Coffee with a Cop from 7 to 9 a.m., inviting all city residents to come, have a cup of joe and speak with officers in a casual environment.

“It’s being held so that the citizens and the community can meet the officers and just talk,” Police Chief Donald Britt said. “If they have any questions they want to ask us about what we are doing in the city, they can do so.”

While this will be the first Coffee with a Cop event in almost a year, the West Point PD held them monthly some time ago and plans to bring back the tradition at regular intervals after Thursday’s event. Chief Britt said that they will do so in order to foster a greater level of trust between the department and those they serve.

“I hope [the community] sees that we are being transparent, that we are here to help them, to answer questions and that we are here to be a part of the community, to make it safe and make it better for everyone,” he said.

This ideal is inherent to the officers that hold it, and Coffee with a Cop is a nationwide phenomenon originating from the Hawthorne, California Police Department in 2011. Building on a framework of community policing, the officers there wanted to mend the shifting public view of police
by sitting down with people, removing the barrier of the badge by putting faces to names.

The West Point Police Department is hoping to do the same thing on August 2. Chief Britt, Captain Robert Fawley and several other officers will be available to talk throughout the two-hour event. They encourage anybody and everybody to come by, speak their mind and discuss the city they inhabit.

“It’s important for us to get out and talk with the citizens, build our relationship, build our rapport with the citizens,” Britt said. “We are all in this together. It takes all of us to keep the community safe, not just the police.”