JAVA CONVERSATIONS

GREENFIELD — The Greenfield Police Department is launching Coffee with a Cop next month, a program aimed at connecting residents with local law enforcement.

Early risers can get their caffeine fix and their questions answered, Police Chief John Jester said, by meeting with members of the department at Lincoln Square Pancake House, 118 W. Main St.

The first meeting is set for 7 a.m. April 20. Jester expects to conduct the sessions for about an hour, and the coffee is on the house.

Coffee with a Cop is intended to be informal, a chance for the public to sit down with law enforcement and talk about issues facing the city.

It also could provide an opportunity for people to make informal reports if they have concerns, Jester said.

“By far, if anybody’s having any issues in their neighborhood, I absolutely want them to bring those up,” he said.

The program will be conducted monthly on a trial basis, and the schedule could be increased depending on interest.

Jester plans to personally attend the meetings and will lead them in the beginning, but he said if people are interested, he would be willing to bring other members of the department into the mix to talk about their areas of expertise.

Officers could speak on crime trends, dangerous intersections and other issues of public concern, Jester said.

The effort has Mayor Chuck Fewell’s full support.

As a former state trooper, Fewell said he understands the importance of connecting officers with the public they serve on a more personal level.

“It gets them to see who is in that uniform and that they are interested in their problems,” he said. “All the time, … people walk down the street, all they see is that police car. They don’t know that person.”

Jester said he hopes that meeting in a neutral location — instead of at the police department — will make members of the public who have never met with officers before feel comfortable attending.

Costas Stylianou, owner of the pancake house, said he hopes the monthly event opens a dialogue between members of the community and the local police department.

“They should be telling their problems,” he said.

He won’t mind a little increased foot traffic in the restaurant, either.

“It helps the business downtown. It helps everybody,” he said. “And the coffee’s on the house.”

If you go

The first session of “Coffee with a Cop” is scheduled for 7 a.m. April 20. The coffee is free, and so is the conversation. The event will be held at Lincoln Square Pancake House in downtown Greenfield, 118 W. Main St.

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Noelle Steele is editor of the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3232 or nsteele@greenfieldreporter.com.