LANCASTER – More than a dozen local residents joined Lancaster Sheriff’s deputies and representatives from the city’s Public Safety office Thursday morning for the “Coffee with a Deputy” meeting.
The informal meetings are a chance for residents to meet with local law enforcement to discuss community issues, build relationships, and drink coffee.
“Anything from, ‘my neighbor dumps his trash in my trash can’, to ‘what do I do about the neighbor’s dog’, to ‘there’s graffiti that’s been appearing in my neighborhood’… that kind of thing,” said Lancaster Sheriff’s Station Captain Pat Nelson, when asked about the issues he hears at Coffee with a Deputy meetings.
April Barr has been a regular at the monthly meetings since Coffee with a Deputy launched in Lancaster nearly two years ago.
“It gives us a chance to meet the officers that are working with the city and to get a feel for the whole city, not just our area,” Barr said. She said the meetings have allowed her the opportunity to work with deputies and city officials to address various quality of life concerns in her neighborhood.
“We had a big problem with people dumping trash in the dirt area,” Barr said, adding that the problem has since been addressed. “They actually go in and dig through the trash, find out who dumped it and go file charges,” Barr said.
Willie Green said he regularly attends the Coffee with a Deputy meetings so that he is better prepared in his role as Neighborhood Watch Block Captain.
“I get a broad idea from [residents in] different neighborhoods as to what’s going on around the city that we are not aware of through the news media,” Green said. “It helps us to put all our ideas into a pot.”
Coffee with a Deputy was launched as an informal forum for residents to build relationships with law enforcement. The meetings have since evolved into a community network, with residents building relationships with each other, Nelson explained.
“I think it’s a great way to interact with your neighbors, because we can’t be everywhere at once,” Nelson said. “If you develop a network of other community members, then you can rely on each other.”
The Lancaster Sheriff’s Station’s next ‘Coffee with a Deputy’ meeting will be held at 8 a.m., Thursday, March 13, at the Lemon Leaf Café, located at 653 West Lancaster Boulevard in Lancaster.