This past Saturday was the first Coffee with Cops at McDonalds in Italy. There was coffee for all and donuts too! The Italy police department has come up with a great way to help the citizens of Italy have better communication with the police department.
After he and his fellow officers were approached many times in the past by citizens with legal questions, Pedro Gonzalez (reserve officer) came up with this idea to bridge the gap between the police department and the community. The idea was to offer a set time and at a set place to have the police officers and the community members get together and ask questions and have a better understanding of what the law is.
Officer Gonzalez has been in law enforcement for 15 years, 12 years as a full time officer and 3 years as a reserve officer. He is very passionate about helping the community interact and form a closer bond with the police officers. Gonzalez said, “We would like to do this every three to six months. This gives us a chance to update the community on new laws and new programs that they might be interested in.”
He went on to say, “Some programs and or services that we already have in place a lot of the citizens don’t know we have them. Such as we offer ride alongs with officers, we do vacation checks when people are out of town. If you let the police department know when you will be out of town we will drive by your home or business and make sure everything is fine.”
Jonnetta Hardin (owner/operator of McDonalds) said, "Italy police are reaching out to the community to foster relationships outside of stressful situations. McDonalds is more than happy and proud to supply the location and free coffee to those who attend. We strive to be a good partner with the police and the community.
“I have a passion for people. When I was in high school I participated in the explorer program with the local police department. I always wanted to help people make a better world so my family can live in it safely. And I think if the community and police officers build better relationships we are on the pathway to doing this. Coffee with Cops is the first step,” explained Officer Gonzalez