For the past few months for one reason or another I have missed Coffee and Conversation with a Cop so I was determined to go last Saturday, May 30.
The program runs from 9 to 11 a.m. on the last Saturday of the month at the First Baptist Church of Herkimer on the corner of Green and Washington streets in Herkimer, NY. The aim is to foster a better relationship between citizens and police, thus improving the quality of life in our village. I am all about improving my beloved Herkimer. Also, the session is a golden opportunity for me to ask questions about police work relating to the novel I am still trying to write.
Another bonus, for me at least, is the refreshments. I enjoyed a nice cup of coffee and some homemade scones and cookies that were to die for. I should have asked for the recipes. But I digress.
Two officers sat at the tables when I arrived shortly after nine. One was in a lively discussion with several participants, but the other looked free, so I cornered him with my novel inquiries. Oh well, I guess “cornered” is an exaggeration. I sat down near him with my coffee and scone, and opened my notebook.
He was gracious and informative. I took care not to let my novel dominate the conversation but tried to think of questions that would be of interest to others. Others sitting at our table also had questions.
One question that came up was what to look for if one suspected the neighbors of nefarious activities (nobody actually said “nefarious.” I just like that word). Batteries? Chemicals? It is not always easy to know if something is suspicious, because things can have multiple explanations. For example, comings and goings at odd hours may indicate shift work. A good solution is to get to know your neighbors, which of course is not always easy these days.
This idea of Neighborhood Watches was brought up. The officers emphasized that a Watch was just that. If we observe something wrong, we should call the police and not try to take action ourselves.
“That’s how you become a headline,” I said.
The officers had brought fliers keeping your home secure. I especially liked the one titled “Beware of the Bogus Caller,” which featured a cartoon of a man with an evil grin on the front. The flier had good advice, but I thought it was a funny picture.
I only stayed and chatted for about an hour, because I had many things to do and a headache to contend with (just to throw in a line about my petty personal problems), but I was glad I attended. I feel it makes me look at my village as a whole and gives me a different perspective from my usual Mohawk Valley adventures.