Coffee with a Cop aims to connect officers with community

Published 10:32 pm Friday, October 7, 2016


Friday morning the Vicksburg Police Department met with members of the community at local fast food restaurants over a cup of coffee to bridge the gap between the public and law enforcement.

All three local McDonald’s restaurants and Chick-fil-A hosted investigators and uniformed officers from the VPD from 8 to 10 a.m. and invited the public to join them for coffee in an effort to build relationships.

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“It gives the community the opportunity to meet the officers that serve their community,” Vicksburg police Capt. Sandra Williams said.

The event, called National Coffee with a Cop Day, was held at McDonald’s restaurants nationwide Friday and routinely throughout the year, local owner Melanie Roach said.

Lt. Troy Kimble got the chance to eat with Jacob Engram, a recent Vicksburg High School graduate, before he had to run back to work. Engram’s mother Carolyn Michelle said Jacob had seen the flyer for the event a few days ago and was excited to come in and meet the officers. He made sure his mother didn’t forget to take him to the event by hanging the flyer on their refrigerator.

“He couldn’t miss this,” Engram said.

The flyer states the mission of Coffee with a Cop is “to break down the barriers between police officers and the citizens they service by removing agendas and allowing opportunities to ask questions, voice concerns and get to know the officers in your neighborhood.”

Williams said building these relationships is important for everyone in the community so the public knows who their local officers are and so the officers know the community members before they are ever called out to any situation in the area.

She tried to visit all four locations Friday after a busy morning in the office. The demands of working in law enforcement pulled the officers and investigators in an out of the restaurants throughout the morning. Williams hopes they will be able to have this event again.

“Since I’ve been here at this McDonald’s, I’ve had the opportunity to meet new people and I’ve had the opportunity to talk to people that I already know,” Williams said. “I think it’s a wonderful gesture to have this.”

Vicksburg police Chief Walter Armstrong approached Roach and her husband, Mike, about hosting the event in their three local locations, and the couple was happy to accommodate the event.

“Of course we said absolutely,” Melanie said. “We’re just happy to participate and think it’s a worthy cause.”

She is glad their restaurants can be a comfortable common-ground meeting place for events such as this between officers and the community in an effort to open the lines of communication. Mike said Vicksburg is blessed to have such a great relationship with local law enforcement, which he said can also be attributed to the people of the community.

“I’m glad we all stick together around here,” Mike said.

The Roaches have recently given a lot of support for police officers by hosting free meals for them once a month.

“We’re just trying to show our gratitude to them,” Mike said.