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EPD hosts first Coffee with a Cop

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By Sarah Bennett

A steady flow of city residents stopped for a cup of coffee and conversation Friday morning with officers from Elizabethtown Police Department.

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The department held its first Coffee with a Cop event from 8-10 a.m. at McDonald’s on West DixieAvenue. The restaurant provided free coffee and seven EPD officers, including Chief Tracy Schiller, attended to interact with community members who attended.

Coffee with a Cop, which is a national program, is an opportunity for EPD to go into the community and interact with its residents outside the walls of the department, Schiller said.

The chief said some community members came with questions about criminal activity while others simply wanted to have a conversation.

The exchange is beneficial to the department and the community, Schiller said. Not only do residents learn more about what’s going on in their neighborhood, but police gain some insight into what’s important to the community.

Mike Hundley, who has lived in Elizabethtown for more than 30 years, said he came to Coffee with a Cop with a concern about a speeding issue near his home.

According to Hundley, officers have dealt with the problem before and agreed it needs to be addressed.

“It was something that was probably needed,” Hundley said about Friday’s event. “More people need to be familiar with what (the police department) is doing.”

Though they live in Sonora, Judy Murphy and Nikki Wade dropped into McDonald’s to learn more about Elizabethtown’s police department and its officers.

Wade, who has an interest in law enforcement, said she came with many questions, including about the presence of gangs in the city and how many calls the department answers.

According to Murphy, the friends spoke to multiple officers, including a 15-minute conversation with Schiller.

“If he didn’t (answer our questions), he spoke to another police officer who did,” she said.

Schiller was unable to identify the number of attendees, but said he considered Friday’s program a success and intends for the department to host the event again in.

“I haven’t really thought about the number of people being an issue,” the chief said. “It’s more about the exchange.”

Sarah Bennettcan be reached at 270-505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.