Lt. Jason Bell and citizen Mike Crowder talk during Coffee with a Cop

Lt. Jason Bell and citizen Mike Crowder talk at a year’s previous Coffee with a Cop event.

OTTUMWA — At 9 a.m. Wednesday, officers will come to Hotel Ottumwa to give residents the opportunity to ask questions and talk about issues in the country and community.

Ottumwa Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shea Greiner said there will also be discussions on Citizens Police Academy and how officers are helping at area schools.

Coffee with a Cop didn’t start in Ottumwa; it is a national campaign that launched in 2011 and has continued since. “Coffee with a Cop is on a mission to improve trust and build relationships — one cup of coffee at a time,” Coffee With a Cop’s website said.

After having Coffee with a Cop off and on again, Greiner said she was told by former City Administrator Andy Morris that she should host it again.

“It was good to bring it back,” Greiner said, “to bring it to the community and get the police and sheriff department involved. It really is about gaining an understanding from both sides and breaking those barriers.”

For Greiner, the community aspect is especially important because of the negative light law enforcement can be put into at times.

“Sometimes people can see them in a negative way,” she said, “but for the most part they are respected, but this event will be great to have so that people can build relationships between law enforcement.”

Greiner said it’s not just about building positive relationships with law enforcement, but also about law enforcement and residents learning from one another. “Both have interesting sides,” she said. “With having these conversations in a casual setting, it will give residents the chance to ask questions for the busy officers who usually do not have time to ask.”

The event is free of charge, and coffee and pastries will be provided. No RSVP is needed. For more information, contact Greiner at 641-814-5901 or shea@ottumwaiowa.com.

— Chiara Romero can be reached at cromero@ottumwacourier.com.

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