On Thursday at the Rivertown Coffee Shop, Ron Tyler, the police chief greeted the patrons, handing out business cards and inviting them to talk with any of the police officers present there to discuss any issue.
Tyler said the Thursday night’s Coffee with a Cop is a program that will give police officers an opportunity to interact with the community members. The majority of those who visited the famous coffee shop downtown were just there to simply buy coffee and meet with their friends. However, some of them took time to approach an officer and speak with them.
Harley Duncan, a student at the Northwest-Shoals Community College said he just did not enjoy a cup of coffee, but also a conversation with the officers. Duncan asked some of the police officers about their viewpoints on certain national issues.
Tyler said that is what they’ve always wanted, sitting down with people in the community and discussing concerns or situations with them. Lieutenant Ken Lester said the people in the shop were at ease, adding that they did not have an agenda or speeches. Hence, that was a great way of interaction, allowing the public to perceive the police authorities in a certain environment. The meet and greet program also allowed the police officers to introduce themselves to the community members.
Amongst those in the crowd were a husband and wife, along with their daughter, who the couple was leaving in an on-campus housing as the young girl is about to start as a freshman at the state university.
The police chief talked with the couple, saying that the area is safe, and that they’re rest assured that his department will always be there to work with the police officers, surrounding the university. He also said that they could get in touch with him if the couple has any questions.
Tyler further stated that the meet and greet at the coffee shop was the department’s great opportunity to get accustomed to the public. Getting acquainted with the people was an incredible chance for the department, however, if only they wanted. More than anything, Tyler said, they had the chance to meet some of the community members, while showing their huge concern to the community. Tyler’s entire office would also want the community to know that they’ll always be there.
The Thursday’s event at the coffee shop was truly the first of its kind for the police department, Tyler said, but certainly will not be the last. The police chief is looking forward to interacting and engaging with more community members, whether within the local vicinity or in other areas.
Hence, Tyler said he has been forward to moving the event around various locations at different times and days. He said he and his men want to be out in the public. Tyler also said that the department would love to listen to what the community has to say, especially about addressing their concerns, while the meet and greet program is the perfect way to do just that.