Bears, dogs, on topic at Coffee with A Cop

Donald Sauvigne, chairman of the Wilton Police Commission, showed off his cell phone photograph of a huge black bear on his deck to Heidi Hawk, a Wilton resident who was attending her very first Coffee with A Cop event.

Coffee with A Cop, a chance to meet police officers in a casual environment, was held for the second time this year on Wednesday, Oct. 4, this time at Connecticut Coffee.

“That’s a big bear,” Hawk told Sauvigne, who said at one point the bruin was at his sliding glass door window, peering in, “with his head tilted like this.”

The majority of contact law enforcement has with the public happens during emergencies or emotional situations,” a police press release about these events said earlier this year.

“Those situations are not always the most effective times for relationship building with the community, and some community members may feel that officers are unapproachable on the street,” the release said.

Coffee with A Cop aims to correct that by breaking down barriers and allowing for relaxed, one-on-one interaction.

That is exactly how the officers viewed it.

“It does good for the community, meeting the people,” said Officer Edward Dolenk, who was standing outside the coffee shop.

There, Officer Eric Patenaude with talking with Hawk about the department's canine, Baso.

“He’s gorgeous,” Hawk told Patenaude, who was drinking a pumpkin spice coffee.

Pumpkin spice was also what Officer John Patry, inside, was having. Patry spoke with Kaimi Niemann, of Weston, who had stopped by for coffee while headed to the hardware  store to buy some home repair products.

The two talked about everything from home security systems to how one should never leave their car unlocked, even in a seemingly safe town like Wilton or Weston.

“We’re talking all about not leaving things in the open on the car seat,” Niemann said of his conversation with Patry.

Coffee with A Cop is a national initiative supported by The United States Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Similar events are held across the country.