PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - A nationwide initiative continues to build relationships right here on the Gulf Coast. Pass Christian's new Police Chief, Tim Hendricks, launched Coffee with a Cop in the city.
The smell of fresh coffee filled Hancock Bank in Pass Christian on Thursday, but coffee wasn't the only thing on the menu.
"It's an informal atmosphere so anything that these folks want to discuss, we're more than happy to discuss it," Hendricks explained.
The department's officers were all ears.
"Listen to complaints they have. Listen to positives, negatives, any advice they can offer just to talk with them and let them know we're not just some scary man behind a badge," Officer David Spence said.
"It's a good idea to find out who the police officers are and the people that we depend on," Loretta Lazana said.
Lazana has lived in the Pass her whole life. She said she never thought she would be able to talk to an officer in such an informal setting. Now she's happy to know she can.
"I think it's a great idea, because people tend to be afraid of the police, and we don't want people to be afraid. The police chief doesn't want people to be afraid, so we're working on that to have a good relationship with the police," Lazana said.
Bob Mintz has also lived in the Pass for some time, and he feels the same way.
"It's nice to know them rather than be introduced on the street," Mintz said with a thumbs up.
That's what Hendricks said he wants is for the people in the community to feel safe and comfortable when it comes to the men and women who wear a badge.
"Police officers are people too. We have families. We have kids. We have the same problems and challenges, and this kind of humanizes and says look, we're just one partner. We're no better or worse, and we want to figure it out together and be a better community", Hendricks said.
Coffee with a Cop is a national initiative supported by The United States Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
Hendricks says the department plans to host the program every third Thursday of every month.