By Carmella Boykin SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — October 2 was national “Coffee With a Cop” day and in Syracuse, the Syracuse Police Department was stationed at McDonald’s on Teall Avenue.
There, community residents could talk with police officers and voice their complaints.
“It’s hard for police officers to do their job if they’re not trusted,” said Syracuse Police Department intern Steven Bergin. “When they can interact with people here at McDonald’s such as today, it really helps them fill that gap.”
But, trust in law enforcement is fragile.
“Today is a good thing that we do,” said Syracuse Police Officer Marlena Jackson. “Tomorrow, it might be a case that we have and people might view that as being bad, but it just comes with the job.”
But, the intent for the day is to help humanize the officers and help the community feel heard.
“Today allows everybody to come in and actually talk to us, sit down with us, see a different side of us,” said Jackson. “They can voice any comments, concerns, that they might have that’s in the community where they haven’t had the opportunity to do so.”
These concerns are everything from burglaries in the area and car larceny, to parking concerns and keeping neighbors safe.
Intern Steven Bergin is new to working in law enforcement and on “Coffee With A Cop” day he interacted with a different generation.
“It’s kind of an older crowd here, and to see how it’s changed from the stories they’re saying when they were kids, and how it was different then, it’s kind of a nice opportunity,” said Bergin.
But, the community isn’t all adults.
“We got little kids today who actually came in to see us,” said Jackson.
Little kids like Deanna who came in with her grandmother, Kathleen Blake, especially to talk with the police.
While she was a girl of few words, when asked if she wanted to be a police officer, she answered with a resounding “Yes!”