'Coffee with a Cop' comes to Chimacum Cafe

By Scott Wilson of the Leader
Posted 3/10/15

The last thing many Jefferson County residents want to see in their rear-view mirror is a cop, especially with flashing lights.

But it may be that the first thing many would like to see across …

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'Coffee with a Cop' comes to Chimacum Cafe

Posted

The last thing many Jefferson County residents want to see in their rear-view mirror is a cop, especially with flashing lights.

But it may be that the first thing many would like to see across from them at a friendly restaurant table is a cop, a cup of coffee and maybe even a piece of pie.

That’s exactly what Jefferson County Sheriff Dave Stanko is offering in his “Coffee with a Cop” program, which launches Wednesday, March 11 from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Chimacum Cafe. The cup and the cop return March 18 and March 25 at the same time and same place for the same informal discussion.

And, Stanko said, if it’s successful at Chimacum then he’ll look to expand the program to other community restaurants, such as the Twana Roadhouse in Quilcene, the Halfway House in Brinnon and the Bayview Restaurant in Port Townsend.

“We’ll talk for an hour with whoever comes in,” said Stanko. “I’m hoping for all kinds of questions.”

At the inaugural “Coffee with a Cop” gathering on March 11, Stanko said he would be joined by Detective Ryan Menday and Deputy Adam Newman. A rotation of deputies, detectives and even jailers will come to each of the gatherings in the future, he said. He wants the public to meet his line staff and be able to talk to them directly about their concerns and observations, he said. Stanko will be part of some, but not all, of the gatherings.

“It’s a chance for our deputies to meet with you, and for you to meet with our deputies,” he said. “We want to hear what you have to say.”

Brian Horner, owner of the Chimacum Café and a Chimacum High School graduate, endorses the idea with ready space and a price break on coffee and pie for March, because he knows that officers “are great people, and half the people who live here don’t know that.”

Deputy Gordon Tamura, who is also a firearms and Taser instructor for the JCSO in which he has served for 16 years, said most deputies are humble and unaccustomed to the limelight, but that the staff is looking forward to a chance to “get past stereotyping” and talk over concerns in a relaxed setting.

And Deputy Jason Avery, like Horner a Chimacum graduate, said most deputies’ contact with the public is in tense situations. “For us to be able to sit here with people and have open talk is new for us.”

Stanko agreed.

Most contacts between officers and the public happen during emergencies or emotional situations, he said, which makes it hard to connect on a friendlier basis. Through conversation, Stanko expects to help build a solid community partnership between police and people.

The program is new here, but has been tried in 175 other communities, with information on a “Coffee with a Cop” website. The purpose, according to the site, is to get deputies out of their cars and remove other physical barriers between officers and the public, so they can talk one-on-one in a friendly atmosphere about what concerns them.

The Chimacum Cafe is located at 9253 Rhody Drive in Chimacum.

(The first version of this story appeared March 9 on ptleader.com.)

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