WATCH ABOVE: Coffee with cops is a new initiative aimed at fostering stronger community ties. As Rachel Lau reports, it’s a way for citizens to voice their concerns in an informal setting.
COTE-SAINT-LUC – The Montreal police department (SPVM) is inviting Montrealers out for coffee.
“It’s time for us to go inside the restaurants, inside the shopping malls to say hello to everybody,” said Marc Cournoyer, the Police Commander for Station 9.
Coffee With A Cop is an initiative that first started in the United States back in 2011.
It was brought over to Quebec just last year.
“We want to be near the population,” explained Emilie Toubeix, a police officer who helped get the project off the ground.
“We want to be accessible to them too.”
The idea is simple, residents can come sit and have coffee with Montreal police officers and discuss the issues that are important to them.
It’s a one-year pilot project.
The SPVM says it’s been pretty successful so far.
“If they have questions, if they have something to talk to us about, we can be there and we have time too,” said Toubeix.
People who were just wondering through the McDonald’s in Cote-Saint-Luc on their daily coffee run told Global News they were surprised to see all the police officers.
“It’s nice to be able to talk to them firsthand,” said Shawn Coulis.
“Especially for us because we’re so used to hearing negative stuff so it’s nice to get a positive on it.”
Citizens admit it’s great to see their men and women in uniform pounding the pavement in their neighbourhood.
“Having them in the community and being very visual is something that we all need,” said Alexandria Coulis.
“The younger kids and the younger generation, they have to feel comfortable with it.”
“It’s for people to feel more comfortable with the cops around, not being afraid to approach them if they have a question or if they need a hand or help,” added Elana Dickerman.
Coffee With A Cop is partnering with restaurants across the city to help spread their message.
“It makes our staff more secure and obviously with the community and stuff it’s a great initiative so we were happy to obey and have an event like this take place in our restaurant,” said Peter Stamatopoulos, the McDonalds’ Director of Operations.
This is far from the end.
Police departments across the province are gearing up for their own Coffee With A Cop event.
“Get out of the car, see citizens, say hello, say bonjour to the citizens to create a good relation,” said Cournoyer.
All the information on their next coffee dates is on the Cafe Avec Un Policier Facebook page.