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RIVERTON — Community members received the opportunity to sit down with police officers today and ask questions regarding their work.
The Riverton precinct of the Unified Police Department hosted "Coffee with a Cop" at the Beans and Brews in Riverton.
"It's just kind of an opportunity for the community members to come in a non-threatening environment to speak with officers about any concerns or any questions that they have or just to get to know us people," said Lindee Withers, officer in the Unified Police Department Riverton Precinct.
The event is a national initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Justice and Office of Community Oriented Policing.
"You know, so often we're seeing people on the worse day of their life or they don't feel like we're approachable if we're out on the street or in our cars or anything like that," Withers said.
Similar events have taken place around the country in an attempt for police departments to connect with the communities they serve.
"I thought, ‘oh, I'm so glad to hear that that's in our community now' because I feel like it makes them, you know, more like humans on our levels," said Charlotte Cherrington, a member of the community.
The majority of interactions that law enforcement has with the public are usually during emergencies or emotional situations, which may not always be appropriate for relationship building.
This event allows community members to have an opportunity to interact with public officials one-on-one since it's easier than approaching them on the street.
"You know, we all have different life experiences," Withers said. "We all come from different backgrounds and just for them to understand that we care about the community and we care about their concerns and you know, we want to see them when it's not their worst day or when we're heightened. We just want it to be a comfortable environment."
This was first time that the Riverton precinct has organized a "Coffee with a Cop" event, and there are plans to do more of them next year.
Other law enforcement agencies across the state have similar programs in place.