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Last Cup Till Fall

I forgot to write about Coffee with a Cop!  I’ve written about the program before. It takes place on the first Saturday of the month.  A police officer or officers who are on duty but not busy meet with any interested community members. We have coffee and treats, and we talk.  The meetings take place at various locations, such as churches or the library.  On Saturday, June 6, we met at Trinity Lutheran Church, 443 Henry St., Herkimer, with Officer Tiffany Hill and Herkimer Police Chief Michael Jory.

The idea of the meetings is to foster a better relationship between the police and the community. Discussions often cover a variety of topics.  Officer Hill talked about Community Policing, getting to know the people she protects.  Recently she had attended a parade and danced with kids in Meyers Park.  She was at a local school one lunch time and ended up signing autographs (nobody at the meeting was bold enough to ask for one).

She also told us about a foot pursuit where she ran across State Street and caught the guy.  Apparently somebody had leaned out of their apartment window to record it and posted the video on YouTube.  Some of those present had seen it. Oh, I missed a bet.  I should have found it and posted a link.  It was an exciting story.

“My job is so boring,” I grumbled.  Please note:  I don’t really mind; I can live with a little boredom.

We talked a bit about Main Street’s bad reputation, which I feel is not entirely deserved.  As with many such things, there is some truth and some exaggeration involved.  I said I would stubbornly continue to walk and run on Main Street when I felt like it.  Nobody seemed to think this was a bad idea.

I love my adopted hometown of Herkimer, but I know there is room for improvement. I like to think that Coffee with a Cop is a step in the right direction.  The program is taking a break for the summer but will restart in the fall.  I’ll be watching for fliers and scanning the newspapers to see when and where, as I hope others will be, too.

 

 

Me and the Police

I saw on Facebook (an unending source of information) that Thank the Police Blue Ribbon Day happens from 9:01 p.m. Sept. 29 to 8:59 p.m. Sept. 30.  What better time, I thought, to make my post about Coffee and Conversation with a Cop (also known as Cup with a Cop).  I attended the latest session of the program last Saturday, Sept. 26, and enjoyed it very much.

The program runs the last Saturday of the month from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church in Herkimer.  One or two police officers attend (as allowed by their duties).  Anybody in the community is welcome to come and chat.  I’ve asked questions about police procedure for that novel I keep trying to write.  We talk about the state of crime in the area, local police work, and many other related topics.

I confess that when I attend these sessions I am torn between an uplifting feeling of civic virtue and a sheepish acknowledgement that I am also looking forward to the refreshments.  Then again, as a community theatre colleague once observed as we contemplated with satisfaction a large crowd for dessert theatre, “If you feed them, they will come.”

While I enjoyed several cookies, I also contributed to a lively and wide-ranging discussion.  What I really liked about it was that people’s attitudes were geared to, “What can we do to make things better?”  The underlying thought seemed to be that we actually can make it better.  I found that refreshing and encouraging.

Sometimes at these sessions, when we get to talking about the state of the world, we fall into a bit of,  “Look at THOSE people!  They don’t show any respect!”  From there, it is a short step to, “It wasn’t like that when WE were young!”  Yes, I have done it myself, but I question the validity of the assertion.  One time an older guy (older than me at any rate) was bemoaning the younger generation, and I said to him, “You realize your grandfather said the same thing about you.”  Of course I was just guessing, but I bet I guessed right.

Officer Crippen, our cop for the day, did talk about respect, but he talked a lot about how much better things go when he shows respect to others.  Obviously, sometimes you have to tackle the bad guy, but often when you come into a situation, what first meets the eye does not tell the whole story.  He finds if he can ask, “What’s going on here?” and get an answer, he often gets a better result.  He said when possible, he prefers verbal de-escalation.

Another topic that came up was the ever-increasing problem of heroin addiction.  We talked about societal and economic factors in the situation, as well as the more sophisticated techniques of the drug dealers and the police department’s troubles in combating them.  Long-range solutions, of course, are not easy to come by, but we discussed those, too.

As usual, the idea of all citizens being the eyes and ears of the police came up.  “If you see something, say something” is the rule the police would like us to follow.  This is not said with a “Squeal on your neighbor” kind of vibe but rather with the intent to help your neighborhood and make our community better.  An example of this was a question I brought up.  It seems a number of people in my neighborhood enjoy the night life, sometimes returning loudly at a late hour.  If I think I hear a fight, the police would rather I call them and be wrong than not call them and be right.  After all, the cops may be able to stop a fight before somebody gets hurt.

I felt it was a really good session and was glad I was able to attend.  Cup with a Cop has been going on for a year now.  One of the last things we talked about was how to expand the program, bring more people into the discussion, and let it spread to other communities.  One possibility is to ask other churches to host sessions. Another suggestion was to hold a Conversation at the library.

“Yes, the library,” I said.  “Then afterwards, people can stay and listen to Guitar Group!  I love that Guitar Group.”  It would make a wonderful blog post.

 

Scattered Saturday Stroll

First, to give a health update (although people who go on about their ailments are usually tiresome), I woke up this morning with no light-headedness but with a dreadful headache.

Still, I felt marginally better so thought to go for a walk to the post office.  I had finished a letter to a friend yesterday at the laundromat (so two useful results of the heinous part of the day) (I think I mentioned in yesterday’s post that it was a heinous part of the day).  I wrote three postcards, got ready and headed out the door.

It was cool in the shade but warm in the sun,  the beginning of a beautiful day.  I had on my crazy old lady hat and was grateful I was carrying my purse, which contained my prescription sunglasses.  As always, it felt good on my legs to walk.  For the first block or so I had the vague idea to return home, put on the proper gear and go running instead.  On the other hand, I thought, still ill, no running for weeks, maybe a longish walk would be better.

To make it a longer walk, after mailing my things, I walked towards Main Street then down Green Street.  I noticed the newspaper’s building, an old, interesting structure.  “Evening Telegram” stands out in stone letters on the front.  In fact, it moved to a morning paper some time ago and more recently merged with the Little Falls paper to become the Times Telegram.  I am actually quite impressed that the area can support a daily newspaper, three if you count the Utica O-D and the Rome Sentinel (in fact, we subscribe to the Times Telegram and the O-D, although there is some overlap in their coverage).

I thought it would be a good idea if I came down and took a picture of the building before they update the sign, if they ever do. After all, an elegant stone sign, why not keep it up there for the sake of history?

I continued down Green Street past the First Baptist Church, which hosts Cup with a Cop every month.  That is a chance to sit down and chat informally with our local police.  I enjoy it very much, when I am able to attend.  Unfortunately, this month it was last week, when I had to work.  I hope to be there again.  For one reason, it is usually good for a blog post.

Continuing on I came to the path over what used to be a hydraulic canal, a favorite place of mine to walk or run.  My legs were feeling a little tired by now, so I felt I had made the right decision not to run.  On the other hand, my headache seemed a little better.  I was setting a brisk, steady pace, which I have read is good for producing pain-fighting endorphins (why is my computer telling me “endorphin” is a word but not “endorphins”?).  That is one thing about not walking with a cute little doggy.  You can set a brisk, steady pace and not stop to let someone sniff every few feet.  That said, I would rather have my dog.  However, I do not mean to whine about my loss.

I continued walking for a little over a half hour, so I felt I had gotten some exercise.  My headache returned in full force almost as soon as I stopped walking.  I say this only to give an update, not to further complain (although I realize it may be difficult to tell the difference).  Later, after decongestant and a nap, my headache had gone to be replaced by the lightheadedness (again, UPDATE, not COMPLAINT! Sheesh!).

I did enjoy my walk.  I hope to take another one soon.  Happy Saturday, everyone.