NASHVILLE — Bojangles coffee and biscuits served as the platform Friday morning for residents to meet and greet the law enforcement officers who patrol the town.
“It has been very positive,” Nashville police Community Services Officer Steve Glover said. “We’ve gotten a lot of ‘thank you’s’ and ‘glad to see you guys’ from residents.”
Police Chief Thomas Bashore said he can’t take credit for the “Coffee with a Cop” idea, which was first implemented in February at the Nashville Diner.
“I knew I wanted to get out in the community more,” Bashore said. “I’ve visited some civic groups, but this gives the general public a chance to bend our ears.”
Some of the visitors Friday morning came after seeing fliers or notices in the newspaper while several came after meeting the police chief at other events. Officer Scott Sullivan approached several unsuspecting Bojangles customers during the event, making small talk and giving smiling children bags with a Nashville Police Department rubber bracelet that glows in the dark, a pencil and other items. Glover had various public education pamphlets available and made sure to mention the free Citizens Police Academy that the department hopes to start in April.
“The whole businesses of policing is community awareness,” Nashville Mayor Donald Street said after setting his cowboy hat on the table and stirring his coffee. “The citizens should feel officers are there to help and not be a hindrance on their affairs. They should be able to recognize them, so this gives them a chance to meet them in a friendly way while performing a community service.”
Bashore said he’d like to hold the events once a month and is open to trying a lunch or dinner setting. The former Rocky Mount police sergeant said he spent the first few months as chief adjusting to the department’s internal operations and learning the culture.
“The good thing about being in Nashville is our officers have time when they are out and about in the community to really interact with the citizens and be proactive with events like this,” Bashore said.
For more information on upcoming community outreach by the Nashville Police Department, click here or call 459-4545.