Over the past few years, it has been no secret that a disconnect between civilians and law enforcement has occurred. The Kissimmee Police Department, however, believe an open dialogue with its residents can change these perceptions.
On Tuesday morning the Enchanted Café in historic downtown Kissimmee hosted the third edition of Kissimmee Coffee with a Cop. From 8 a.m.-10 a.m. all were encouraged to come hangout and chat in a comfortable setting over a cup of morning Joe. This was the earliest the KPD hosted this event.
“It really tries to get us into a more informal conversation with the citizens that we serve and protect. We are human, and we just like to have simple conversations with people,” Kissimmee Police Sergeant Erika Castellucci said. “It gives us the ability to answer questions that they may have and that they may not be comfortable talking about.”
Police officers have a vital, but extremely difficult job in the community and want to be a friendly face in the neighborhood.
“One of the challenges is trying to bridge the gap between us and the community. I think a lot of people are not afraid of police, but maybe are a little intimidated by police. At the end of the day we are out there trying to do our job. We are trying to serve and protect and keep people safe,” Castellucci said.
Sometimes civilians may not understand what or why a police officer must do things a certain way, but open communication and having a dialogue will hopefully alleviate any confusion or misconceptions.
“Sometimes we have to do things that maybe the community doesn’t understand, based off policies, procedures and rules we have to follow. Having people understand why we does things is one of the biggest challenges,” Castellucci said.
The event may not have been as successful as the police force wanted with only a couple of handfuls of civilians making it out, but being a new event there is always room for growth and optimism going forward. The civilians who did show up had a wonderful time laughing and talking with the officers, who showed up in considerable numbers. More than 25 officers showed attended.
“This was the first time we are having this in a downtown area. A lot of stores aren’t open until 10 o’clock, so we knew the early hours would be a little on the slower side, but we are optimistic more people will come.” Castellucci said. “I’m optimistic this will keep growing.”