In an effort to improve the relationship between the community and police officers, the Smyrna Police Department along with officers from Clayton PD will come together Wednesday, July 9 for “Coffee with a Cop.”

The event is an informal program that will provide a neutral space for residents to discuss community issues, build relationships, and well drink coffee, too.

The July 9 event will begin at 8 a.m. at Bridgeway Family Restaurant in Smyrna.

“Coffee with a Cop” provides residents an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the police department’s work in town. The event is a national initiative supported by the United States Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

“We hope that community members will feel comfortable to ask questions, bring concerns, or simply get to know our officers,” said Smyrna Interim Police Chief Norman Wood. “These interactions are the foundation of community partnerships.”

Smyrna Police Public Information Officer S/Pfc. Brandon Dunning said the goal of “Coffee with a Cop” is to create a better working relationship with the community. However, “Coffee with a Cop” is just the beginning.

Community awareness meetings

In a continued effort to improve the relationship between residents and Smyrna Police, the police department will host monthly meetings with the newly implemented Community Policing Unit.

“We have for years practiced and focused on the principal of ‘community policing’ but beginning on July 30 the Smyrna Police Department will take a great leap further in reaching out and building relationships with community members with the implementation of a Community Policing Unit by Interim Police Chief Norman Wood,” Dunning said.

The first meeting will be Monday, July 7 at 6 p.m. at Smyrna Town Hall. Members of the department’s Community Policing Unit will be present to answer questions and take input regarding specific issues or concerns within the community.

“Coffee with a Cop” and monthly community awareness meetings will work as an open forum where citizens can bring attention to problems within their neighborhood and allow the issues to be addressed with the appropriate joint police and community response, Dunning said. These meetings also provide a line of communication where the police department can inform the community of departmental programs and enlist community help in crime prevention projects.

“We don’t want citizens to have to wait until crimes occur, accidents happen, or problems get out of control for them to be addressed,” Dunning said. “We hope that by hosting the ‘Coffee with a Cop’ program that not only does that give citizens an opportunity to sit down with officers in a safe, comfortable environment but we can also have the much needed face-to-face interaction that is not often granted.”