Coffee with a Cop: Citizens, police get to know each other

By on October 6, 2017

Bobby Gentry, right, talks with three members of the NHPD.

No, it isn’t “Donuts with a Cop.”

It’s “Coffee with a Cop,” and the Nags Head Police Department held their event at Waveriders Coffee, Deli and Pub at Pirates Quay Shopping Center in Nags Head on Oct. 5.

The idea traces its origins to 2011 in California.

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The Hawthorne Police Department was “looking for ways to interact more successfully with the citizens they served each day,” according to the now-national event’s website.

After a brainstorming session, the idea of Coffee with Cop, held in a neutral venue, would help bring the police officers and community members closer together.

In less than five years, events were being held in all 50 states as well as Canada Australia, and across Europe and Africa.

The Nags Head event ran from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and was well attended by citizens and law enforcement officers alike.

By 5 p.m. a significant number of police cars were parked in front of Waveriders, attracting attention from patrons visiting other stores in the shopping center. Some ambled in to see what was going on.

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The complement of officers included Chief Kevin Brinkley, Deputy Chief Perry Hale, Lt. Chris Montgomery, as well as sergeants, detectives and patrol officers.

The crowd mingled easily with the police for a rare opportunity to converse with the men and women who serve the Nags Head community.

Eavesdropping on several conversations found citizens conversing with police officers on a variety of topics, ranging from Community Watch events, neighborhood crime, sports, surfing, and a favorite local topic — crazy drivers executing dangerous maneuvers on the bypass.

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The conversations and exchanges on non-policing topics were as enlightening as citizen concerns about crime and dangerous drivers in that it served as a “proof of concept” for the event — breaking down barriers between citizens and law enforcement and talking to one another as friends and neighbors rather than the more stereotypical image of cops as unapproachable authority figures.

It would be a safe to say the event was a success and we would encourage more such events across the Outer Banks and for more citizens to take part when the opportunities present themselves.

 

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