Coffee with a Cop is Wednesday

Published 1:00 pm Monday, April 3, 2017

By Zachary Price

AMERICUS — Do you like coffee? You probably do; after all, coffee is an extremely popular drink for the morning. You know who else really likes coffee? Cops. That’s why Americus is hosting its first-ever Coffee with a Cop event on Wednesday, April 5.
Alright, the event really isn’t just about how much everyone loves coffee. Coffee with a Cop is a community outreach program that was launched in 2011, in Hawthorne, California. In less than five years, the program has made it to all 50 states and even expanded outside of the country to Europe, Canada, Africa, and Australia. The whole idea is that it gives community members and law enforcement a chance to meet outside of a crisis situation.
The program is finally making its way to Americus, and that is thanks to Tom Harrison who moved to Americus two years ago and comes from a finance background. He retired early in life so now he spends his time helping out some of the small businesses in town. He wanted to do something to show his support for the local law enforcement, so he set up this Coffee with a Cop event. He posted the idea on one of his social media accounts, and the community seemed thrilled with the idea.
Elena Albamonte was one of the people who saw Harrison’s post and she also wanted to do what she could to show support for law enforcement in Americus, so she offered her place of business as a location to hold the event. Luckily, Albamonte is the owner of Bittersweet so the coffee part of the event was taken care of.
What about the law enforcement side? After all you can’t have Coffee with a Cop if there aren’t any cops to have the coffee with. Harrison contacted the Americus Police Department, the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, and Georgia Southwestern State University Department of Public Safety, and all three organizations agreed to come. Mike Tracey, director of public safety at GSW, is excited to come because the event gives his officers a chance to meet the public and tell them about how they do their jobs.
Tracey said, “When people know how and why we do what we do, it eases tensions, and building trust and confidence makes their job easier for everyone.”
The Americus Police Department is also looking forward to the event, and Chief Mark Scott said, “They’re always excited anytime they can interact in a positive way with community.”
The Sheriff’s Office couldn’t be reached for a comment, but they are certainly just as excited as the rest of the law enforcement organizations. The date was chosen to honor Nick Smarr, who would have turned 26 on April 5.
The event will run from 8-10:30 a.m., and the coffee will be free. So, come to Bittersweet on Wednesday to enjoy some coffee, and meet some of the law enforcement officials who serve Americus and Sumter County.