First Coffee with a Cop a hit in Gananoque

The first ever Coffee with a Cop at Starbucks in Gananoque brewed up a small but curious and engaging crowd last week.

"It went really well," said Acting Sgt. Lynsay Dickson of the Gananoque Police Service, who helped put together this initiative locally.

“We had past and current members of our police services board, members of our Town council were there, (community) members that we know were there.”

Topics of discussion ranged from traffic duty, homelessness, mental health, budget questions geared towards the town’s police chief, the increased presence in foot patrol, the police service’s involvement in the downtown core, and other matters.

“People had lists of questions to ask us, and they weren’t even just work related,” said Dickson.

“They were questions like are you from town? Why do you want to police in Gananoque? What attracted you here? It wasn’t 'you’re doing a terrible job,' or, 'you’re doing a great job.' It was about getting to know us, which was the whole point – humanizing the badge for the people that work in the town and police the town. It worked. I was anticipating some negativity but there wasn’t any of that at all.”

Coffee with a Cop in Gananoque continues throughout the rest of January, every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Starbucks is sponsoring the coffee.

“You come in, pull up a chair, we sat in a bit of a circle, snacks, coffee were all handed out, two hours, it was pretty good,” Dickson said.

“Like anything, it takes some time to get people’s awareness but what we’re doing is helpful. We put it up on social media, they have a sign about it at Starbucks, and the people in attendance said they had a great time and would be back.”

(Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)

Keith Dempsey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times