Coffee with a Cop

March 4, 2015
Michigan State Police Motor Carrier Officer Dan Roesler, at left, shares a laugh with Mears resident Gerald Morley, Trooper Doug Tanner and Hart resident Rick Aerts at the Golden Eatery in Mears Wednesday morning.

Michigan State Police Motor Carrier Officer Dan Roesler, at left, shares a laugh with Mears resident Gerald Morley, Trooper Doug Tanner and Hart resident Rick Aerts at the Golden Eatery in Mears Wednesday morning.

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

MEARS — A new community relations program offered by the Hart post of the Michigan State Police kicked off Wednesday morning, March 4, at the Golden Eatery.

“Coffee with a Cop” is a state-wide program aimed at improving community relations for the MSP, and Community Service Trooper Dan Thomas decided to implement it locally.

Waitress Laura Hammond pours coffee at the Golden Eatery in Mears for the Michigan State Police officers. Also seated at the table is Mears resident Jacquelyn Veldkamp, whose husband Lance is a new trooper at the Hart post.

Waitress Laura Hammond pours coffee at the Golden Eatery in Mears for the Michigan State Police officers. Also seated at the table is Mears resident Jacquelyn Veldkamp, whose husband Lance is a new trooper at the Hart post.

“It’s a great way for us to get out and talk to people in the local community,” said Thomas. “We’re not all about writing tickets.”

Thomas sat down at a table, drinking coffee and eating breakfast with F/Lt. Jeff White, Motor Carrier Officer Dan Roesler, Trooper Doug Tanner and several local residents. Not only did they discuss law enforcement concerns, but they also shared jokes and laughs.

Coffee with a Cop improves community relations, but it can also serve as a useful law enforcement tool, he said. “Residents can talk to us and tell us their concerns. They may have information they would like to share about a potential drug house in the area or a location where there may be a speeding issue. If they have a concern, we want to hear about it.”

During a time when law enforcement has been getting a lot of negative press in the national spotlight, local officers are also hoping improve the public’s impression of police. “We want to promote law enforcement,” Thomas said.

Michigan State Police Community Service Trooper Dan Thomas, at left, Motor Carrier Officer Dan Roesler, Trooper Doug Tanner, F/Lt. Jeff White and Mears resident Jacquelyn Veldkamp enjoy coffee and breakfast at the Golden Eatery in Mears Wednesday morning.

Michigan State Police Community Service Trooper Dan Thomas, at left, Motor Carrier Officer Dan Roesler, Trooper Doug Tanner, F/Lt. Jeff White and Mears resident Jacquelyn Veldkamp enjoy coffee and breakfast at the Golden Eatery in Mears Wednesday morning.

People are often intimidated when they see a police officer in full uniform walk into a room, and Coffee with a Cop is geared at relieving those tensions. “We’re approachable,” Thomas said. “We wear many hats, and one of those hats is sitting down and listening to residents’ concerns. We want to show a police presence.”

“This is a great way for us to get out and talk to people in the community,” White said. “We look forward to doing this more in the future.”

The next Coffee with a Cop is slated for Wednesday, March 11, from 9-11 a.m. at Sadie’s Hometown restaurant in Walkerville. Thomas said he is working on getting more sessions scheduled in Scottville, as well as in Lake and Newaygo counties. The Hart post covers a four-county area, including Oceana, Mason, Lake and Newaygo counties.

 

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