April 18– DECATUR — Police Chief James Getz said it’s good to have his officers out in public when they’re not on duty, visiting with residents and building relationships.
Residents and Millikin University students met with local law enforcement and shared a cup of coffee Wednesday morning a the Blue Brew Coffee, the Millikin University-run coffee shop inside Hickory Point Bank &Trust, 225 N. Water St. Getz said the “Coffee with a Cop” event went well.
“It is important for us to be out there in the public when we are not doing traditional police functions,” he said. “We can show the community we like to drink coffee we like to talk to people.”
About 20 people joined a handful of Decatur police officers for conversation and coffee, Getz said. The conversations involved the importance of police-community relationships, he said.
The coffee shop is neat because it was started by Millikin students, Getz said. He also praised the students for inviting the police to visit. The department scheduled the event to connect with the community and get to know people in a different way, Getz said.
The coffee events take place a few times a year. The last one was in October, when community members asked about public safety, the Las Vegas shooting and local gun control.
“I think it is an opportunity for the police and citizens to engage when the officers are not out enforcing the laws or in a type of criminal investigation,” he said.
One Blue Brew employee, Mikayla Krieger, a Millikin sophomore, said the company wanted to host the event to build better relationships with the police, which she admitted aren’t always the best.
Millikin faculty and students attended, she said, and it gave the coffee shop a way to reach more people.
“We were trying to get Blue Brew out into the public,” she said. “It’s a great way for us to connect with the community.”
Another employee, Lauren Bartel, a Millikin senior, said she agreed that the collaboration was useful for both the police and the Blue Brew.
“The shop was really full this morning it was a really great opportunity for people to collaborate and be together,” she said.
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