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Coffee With a Cop brings in community

WEST POINT — Even with a ceaseless downpour of rain, the Virginia Cook Activity Center was full of high spirits, productive conversation and hot coffee on Thursday morning.

The West Point Police Department brought back its bimonthly Coffee with a Cop event, inviting the community to speak with officers in a friendly environment, in order to introduce the people behind the badge.

“We wear a uniform and badge and are out here every day doing the job, but we are people, individuals too,” said West Point Police Officer Gary Johnson. “This helps people see us as not just an officer, but as a person.”

Police vehicles lined Martin Luther King Drive alongside signs advertising the event and officers Brooke White, Kara McIntosh and Quallon Perrigen stood with Chief Donald Britt to welcome community members.

The event started at 7 a.m. ET and people came through on their way to work or in their spare time until 9 a.m. Britt said the event had a good turnout and he was happy with the results, especially considering the weather conditions.

Representatives from different organizations came through, including some from West Point Vision. Mayor Steve Tramell even stopped by to shake hands with both citizens and officers.

“We had around 19 to 20 people here at one time, with people coming in and out all morning,” Chief Britt said. “I’m glad we did this, and look forward to the next one.”

Britt said that due to the success of Thursday’s event, he is already planning another Coffee with a Cop for October at West Point Parks and Recreation.

A major factor of importance to the new chief is community policing, being a friendly aspect of the community and letting people know that they should feel safe around police.

“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 in a previous interview. “We are all in this together. It takes all of us to keep the community safe, not just the police.”