September 13, 2018 5:18 pm
Updated: September 13, 2018 8:04 pm

North Okanagan cops connect with community over coffee

Watch Above: RCMP officers in the north Okanagan are working to build more connections with the community by hosting informal “coffee with a cop” events around the region.

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There are no shortage of jokes about police officers’ affinity for coffee shops, but on Thursday morning, the RCMP members who gathered to drink some java at a downtown Vernon cafe had a larger purpose.

The officers, including the new Vernon detachment commander Shawna Baher, were there as part of a new detachment initiative called “coffee with a cop.”

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The event was an informal chance for members of the public to sit down and chat with RCMP officers over coffee, and part of a series of similar chats the detachment is holding in communities around the north Okanagan.

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“In order for us to have a good relationship with people, for them to have confidence in the police and trust us, these are the types of things that we want to do,” said detachment spokesperson Cst. Kelly Brett.

“We want to show them that at the end of the day we are there for them, we are real people. … We are here to help, we are here to protect.”

Some attendees came with specific questions or issues they wanted to discuss, while others had no agenda for the meeting.

Vernon resident Bryan Wilson said he came to the event to chat with officers and find out where they are coming from.

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“They are trying to portray to the public that there is sort of a new style of policeman out there,” Wilson said.

“It sounds like they are aware that they are under more public scrutiny and they’ve got a tougher job to do these days.”

Another coffee with a cop event will take place in Coldstream on Friday.

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