Early Friday morning members of the Marco Island Police Department and the Collier County Sheriff’s Office gathered together at Dunkin’ Donuts at the Marco Town Center Mall. The officers, though on duty, weren’t there to bust a crime. Instead, they were participating in “Coffee with a Cop,” an outreach program aimed at familiarizing community members with local law enforcement.
“It’s something that we like to do to be able to say hello and thank the community for their support,” MIPD Police Chief Al Schettino said.
The Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot was filled to the brim with police cars. The myriad of officers positioned themselves in front of the store, armed with a complimentary jug of hot coffee and a variety of sugary donuts. They talked amongst one another and offered the free fare to those who passed by.According to the Collier County Sherriff’s Office, Coffee with a Cop is part of a national initiative to promote community oriented policing. The event gives civilians the opportunity to meet with police officers and discuss pertinent issues. Similar events are happening across the country in the hopes of building stronger relationships between police officers and the communities that they serve.
“Today is a community outreach program,” Schettino said. “We stop at a coffee shop and just have coffee and hang out. They (the police officers) get to talk to the residents and the visitors here on Marco Island.”Though donuts were plentiful, the officers were wary to take a bite, especially with cameras around. They jokingly cited the old stereotype as the reason. However, that didn’t stop CCSO Corporal Tamy Martin from enjoying her plain donut. Stereotypes aside, who can resist a free donut?
Throughout the morning residents and visitors came and went, catching a bit of coffee and conversation here and there. Bill Giblin, a retired New York Police Department officer of 40 years, was among them. Also present was City Councilman Howard Reed and Marco Island Fire Rescue Chief Michael Murphy. In the past Murphy and Schettino have worked together on similar community outreach events such as their recent “Coffee with the Chiefs.”
During the event Schettino disclosed to the Coastal Breeze News that come November select MIPD officers will take part in “no-shave” November, a national event in which men refrain from shaving for a month. According to Schettino, the event will act as a fundraiser. Those who choose to participate must donate a required amount to Our Daily Bread Food Pantry, a local food bank on the island.
“We’re just going to do goatees, not full beards, that are neatly shaven and close,” Schettino said.
For find more community evens like this one, make sure to check out the Coastal Breeze News calendar at www.coastalbreezenews.com/calendar.