Jerry Seinfeld does this with comedians in cars for comedic effect. Palmetto Bay does it for residents at Panera Bread with the idea of fostering trust and communication with its police force. Periodically, about a dozen officers make themselves available for a sip and chat with those they serve. The most recent was October 2nd.
“This is a good way to get the community out so we can listen to them and understand their concern, and sometimes their complaints,” explains Officer Kevin Collins. “We want to ally their concerns and a good way to do that is welcome them for some friendly coffee talk.” Collins is a 9-year Palmetto Bay Police Officer who started as a road officer, then became a detective, moved to homicide and has now found his passion in education as part of the Community Outreach.
Officer Collins explained that Palmetto Bay’s community outreach is the only police force in all of Miami-Dade County that runs the radKIDS and radWOMEN programs that teach personal empowerment and safety education. I think that Palmetto Bay understands the importance of these programs and we’ve gotten great support through several Village administrations.
Lisa Ferro is a road officer who regularly can be found monitoring traffic around our area schools. She explained to residents what they are policing as it relates to recently enacted Florida laws. “I’ve always had a good relationship with our residents, explained Ferro. “Especially lately in the Malbrook section, where we continue to enforce the law in regards to stop sign runners and speeders. The homeowners even gave me a chocolate bar with thank you note attached.” Malbrook is the area bordered by SW 87th Avenue to SW 84th Avenue and SW 168th Street to SW 181st Street which has seen a huge build-up of traffic in recent years.
Ferro also reminds people a new law prohibits holding your cell phone in school zones. For now, you’ll get a warning, but come January 1 citations will be issued. Officer Ferro also says the rules of roundabouts are important. In Europe, they work well because people are educated. We seem to need a refresher here in the Village.
Heriberto Nunez has lived in Palmetto Bay for more than 30 years. He actively engages with several officers to review an issue in his area. Mayor Karyn Cunningham also lent an ear. “I think it’s important that we know our officers on a one-to-one basis,” said Nunez. “They protect us and we can count on them when we are not at home. Today I learned about some of their special training and met the new officers on the force.”
You can check the next time Coffee with Cops will occur at: https://www.palmettobay-fl.gov/311/Police-Department