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Tag Archives: Herkimer Police Department

Another Conversation with a Cop

I think the local cops are cool. I am reminded of this once a month now when I attend Coffee and Conversation with a Cop at the First Baptist Church in Herkimer, NY. I had some good conversation there last Saturday, Sept. 27.

The event runs from 9 to 11 a.m. the last Saturday of the month at the church on the corner of Green and Washington streets. I got there just after nine. Rev. Tenolian Bell, the church’s pastor, greeted me. I got myself a name tag, a cup of coffee and a scone. I sat down and opened my little notebook.

Two officers I had not met before were there. I’ve met different cops each session. They have all been pleasant, friendly and informative. This time I met Officers J. Reska and K.R. Allen. Rev. Bell told us these two had appeared on the original poster advertising the first Coffee and Conversation with a Cop. I thought that was kind of cool.

Traffic was a big topic this time. At one point, a certain right turn only corner came up. Someone wasn’t sure which corner it was. Officer Reska tried to elucidate.

“If I had a piece of paper…”

I immediately pushed my notebook and pen over to him so he could draw a little map of the corner in question. We talked about inconsiderate people not obeying the signs. If the police aren’t right there, the person is probably going to get away with it. Sometimes the police are close by but are en route to a more urgent call.

A call came in during our conversation, and both officers had to leave for a short time. I took the opportunity to ask Rev. Bell about something he had mentioned earlier, that he had been an investigator for a D.A. We talked about his experiences and path to the ministry, which I found very interesting.

When the cops returned, the recent rash of car break-ins came up. Officer Reska said in many cases the car owners had not locked their doors. I always lock my doors, but felt it would sound smug to say so.

We also talked a little about the officers’ backgrounds and experiences, and police work in general. I feel I am getting a real picture of the Herkimer Police Department. I took a flier for next month’s session to hang up at my work. I hope more people start attending Coffee and Conversation with a Cop. I look forward to more conversations myself.

Second Cup with a Cop

I was delighted to attend the second Coffee and Conversation with a Cop at the Baptist Church on Washington Street in Herkimer last Saturday morning (perhaps you read my blog post about the first one). I feel so pleased that this is going to be a monthly event and have great hopes as I do for any project meant to improve my beloved adopted hometown.

The event ran from 9 to 11 a.m. I arrived shortly after nine, signed in and put my name on a name tag. Jamie Lester Bell, the First Lady of the church, remembered me from last time. She was on her way out, having double booked herself, but she took time to greet me. She also asked me to leave information on how to get to my blog. I said I would post a link on the church’s Facebook page (note to self: remember to do that).

No cops were present as I walked in. They were out on a call. Chairs were arranged around two separate tables rather than the U formation they had been in last time. People were sitting around one table having a discussion. I got some coffee and a cookie and chatted with some people I remembered from last time.

When I saw a uniform come in the door I called, “There’s a cop!”

It was Officer Steve Elwood, who I had met at the Herkimer Police Department when I registered for the DARE 5K. He looked at the plate of donuts and said, “Is this a joke?”

I don’t know why it’s such a cliche of cops and donuts. A lot of people like donuts. I look like I eat a few too many myself. But I digress.

Officer Elwood asked me how I did on the run. We chatted a bit about that, then sat down at a table and others joined the conversation. Another officer showed up, whose name I did not get, so we had a cop at each table with two separate conversations going on. The atmosphere was very informal, which I gather is the intention.

My table chatted about all kinds of things. My novel came up, because I had been asking Officer Elwood questions for it the day I registered for the DARE run. I’d better make sure I finish that novel, I’ve mentioned it to so many people.

We asked a lot of questions about police work in general and the situation in Herkimer in particular. I really enjoyed how it felt more like a conversation with regular people than a question and answer session. As we talked about problems in our community it became a more serious discussion about economics and societal ills. We discussed how bringing more businesses in, particularly on Main Street, would help everything.

My big takeaway, both this time and last month, was what we as individuals can do. “If you see something, say something.” For example, there have been burglaries recently where the thieves just took stuff out of a house and drove away with it in broad daylight. Did the neighbors even notice? If so, why didn’t they make a phone call?

I said that it might be a problem on my street, because there are several rental properties. People are often moving in and out. Even as I said it, I realized my solution is actually what I try to do. When I’m out walking my dog, I speak to people. I can’t say I get to know all my neighbors, but I have a better shot at recognizing somebody who doesn’t belong.

Obviously any community needs more than just sitting around talking, drinking coffee and eating donuts (I ate a donut; I don’t think any of the cops did). But I like to think this is a step in the right direction. I hope that some of us try to do something to implement some of the ideas that were expressed. And I hope to see even more people at next month’s Conversation. I plan to be there.

I Don’t DARE Back Out Now

Sunday was the last day to register for the DARE 5K and pay $20. After Monday, Aug. 11, the fee goes up to $25. At least, perhaps I could have registered on the 11th for $20, but who likes to take a chance on these things? (Oh, you probably do.)

Of course the best way for me to register is to fill out the form the Herkimer Police Department nicely mailed me, write a check, put Tabby on the leash and walk over to the police station. That way Tabby gets a walk, I get some exercise, I can write a blog post about it, and it is altogether a pleasant experience.

I was afraid it would be a little too sunny and hot for our walk but it wasn’t too bad around 9 o’clock, which is when we went. I wore my crazy old lady hat and prescription sunglasses. I noticed once again how nice everything looks in the sunshine. It’s like nature’s cosmetic. Then again, a lot of houses in Herkimer look nice all on their own. I noted with approval well-kept lawns, flowers still in bloom and nicely decorated porches. I am particularly envious of comfy-lookng porch furniture. I have not done enough porch- and deck-sitting myself this year. I’d better start taking advantage of the opportunities left to me.

We walked down Church Street to our favorite Historic Four Corners. We did not pause to admire the buildings but crossed Main Street and continued down to Green and the municipal building. I told the officer at the window I wanted to register for the DARE 5K, and he called to Steve Elwood, the officer in charge of the event. When Officer Elwood opened the door to talk to me, Tabby started to walk right in. She’s so sociable. He petted Tabby and asked if she was running.

“She doesn’t like to run with me,” I told him. “But after I run I walk around the block for a cool-down, and she joins me on that.”

I also asked him a question pertaining to the police for my novel. He gave me some good information. We chatted a little more about the race, then Tabby and I took our leave. We walked back home a different way, which Tabby seemed to enjoy. We stuck to the shadier side of the street, because it was starting to heat up.

So now I’m registered for the DARE 5K, and it is less than a week away. Will I be able to write a blog post about anything else between now and then? Ah, a little suspense will add interest to my week.

A Cup with a Cop

It’s no secret that I love this area, my adopted hometown of Herkimer and the surrounding villages. I am naturally interested in any efforts to improve our quality of life. Under that heading, I made sure to attend Coffee and Conversation with a Cop last Saturday at the Baptist Church on Washington Street in Herkimer.

Full disclosure: I had another motivation to go. I thought I might have a chance to ask a policeman all my stupid questions regarding the local police for the novel I am writing.

The event ran from 9 to 11 a.m. I arrived close to nine and parked in the Green Street lot in front of the Municipal Building. A couple of people wearing name tags hung out around the door greeting people. Just inside the door a table was set up gathering contact information. They gave me a name tag, too. I got myself a cup of coffee and a donut and looked around for a cop that wasn’t busy.

People were still milling about, unsure of the event’s format. Three police officers were sitting at tables, which were set up in a U shape. I waited till one was free, sat down opposite him and pulled out my notebook.

Patrolman Patrick Murphy works for the Mohawk Police Department, but I was sure his answers would also be germane to Herkimer PD. He was very informative. We had an excellent conversation not just about my novel questions. A few other people joined in as we talked about police work in general and Patrolman Murphy’s experiences in particular. I was glad other people joined in, because I didn’t want to hog the cop.

After a while an older gentleman spoke up and asked that the policemen to sit at the head table, because he wanted to hear what people were asking them. I think a more informal format, such as we were doing, had been originally envisioned. However, after a couple tries, the older gentleman prevailed and the discussion became general.

I learned that the idea for coffee and Conversation with a Cop came from Dan Higgins, a snowbird and member of the church. He said communities were holding similar forums down south, so he approached Rev. Bell with the idea. he would like to see these meetings happen once a month.

“The church needs to be a part of the village, not just Sunday mornings,” he said.

Janice Lester Bell, the first lady of the church, spoke of the corporate and spiritual ministries of the church. The main focus of the day was not a complaint session but a chance to raise concerns and a chance for citizens to ask What can we do? Many concerns were raised. The officers answered questions, explained appropriate times to contact the police, and shared their own problems with staffing limitations.

“If you see something, say something,” is the best way a private citizen can help.

Several people had ideas on how to improve things. I found this encouraging, and I like the idea of monthly Coffee and Conversations. I’ll be watching for the next session.

Not Lame Hair

In lieu of my usual Friday Lame Post, I would like to give a brief shout-out to the Hot Spot Salon and Spa in Herkimer, NY. I just got a really cool haircut there.

The cut was important, because Steven and I have an event to attend on Saturday, March 8 (um, that’s tomorrow). It is the HPD/MPD SRT Tasting Event from 6 to 10 p.m. at Francesca’s Banquet Hall in Ilion. Proceeds will be split between the Herkimer/Mohawk Special Response Team and K9 Ape Memorial. K9 Ape, you may recall, was killed last March during the shootings which shook Mohawk and Herkimer.

The evening promises to be fun, with several wineries, a brewery and a distillery offering tastings. Hors d’oeuvres will be served. Some of the members of the Special Response Team involved in last March’s terrible events will attend.

So naturally I want to look my best. I’ve been agonizing over what to wear, but I knew my hair would be OK if I could get an appointment at the Hot Spot. I was lucky enough to get in with Claire right after work on Friday.

Clair remembered what she did with my hair last time, which I liked. I told her she could go even shorter on top this time. I do like my hair short. While she clipped, we talked about the tasting event. It turns out Clair and Amy both plan to attend.

“What are you wearing?” I asked. She was undecided, so we discussed options.

My hair turned out fabulous. While I was paying for it, I chatted up Amy on what she was going to wear. We are all excited about the different wineries who plan to be there.

“I’ve been to some of them,” I said. Amy has been wine tasting in the Finger Lakes, too, so we talked about some of our favorites.

“My sisters, cousin and Mom are going again on April 5,” I said. “I was undecided on if I was going with them, but now…”

“You’re going,” Amy said.

So I had a fun time, and I got a good cut. The Hot Spot is located at 121 Albany St. in Herkimer, 315-866-9113. Their website is www.hotspotsalonandspa.com.

If you’re all interested in going to the tasting event, contact the Mohawk or Herkimer police departments. But if you do, better hurry. Last I heard, they were selling out.

Yay, Flood Boots!

Looking back, I see I have done a number of pedestrian posts lately. Could it be that my life is so boring all I do is work, sleep and walk my dog? Well, sometimes I eat and read books. Perhaps I can write blog posts about those subjects next week.

Today I TRIED to walk my schnoodle Tabby first thing in the morning. And by “first thing,” I mean, when my husband Steven left for work. I’d been up a good four or five hours by that time but hadn’t done must noteworthy or blogworthy. Well, I did finish two letters and write five postcards. That was why I wanted to walk to the post office.

Yesterday the sidewalks had been quite wet. It was supposed to continue warm today, although it had been cold overnight. I thought my winter combat boots (army issue, of course) would be good. I was picturing more ice than puddles and the combat boots offer some traction.

Um, not enough. All that water had frozen into a lovely, glare surface. Maybe cleats would have offered enough traction. Maybe ice skates would have been a better choice (mine perished in last summer’s flood, although I confess I had not worn them in years). It was scary! I don’t think I’m old enough to worry about breaking a hip, but even my fat butt doesn’t offer enough padding to make me view with complacence a fall on hard ice.

We made it two blocks. Mostly we walked in the road, which was still pretty icy, because 9 a.m. traffic in my neighborhood is not bad. Finally the thought that every step I took TO the post office I would have to repeat BACK from the post office overcame me. We went back home and drove to the post office.

I felt humiliated, because the weather had driven me back inside on the prettiest sunny day you could ask for. I had on my sunglasses, dammit! I had on my insulated sweatshirt instead of a coat! But the story has a happy ending, because the sun stayed out. About two o’clock, we tried again. This time I wore my flood boots, anticipating puddles not ice.

Oh, you can’t believe what a wonderful walk it was! The ice we encountered was melting. There were a few patches of bare pavement. Most of the sidewalks had lovely, safe, wet puddles. Not even very muddy. And can I just say, let’s hear it for flood boots. The air was warm. The sun was bright. A little voice in my head sang, “I’m in heaven! I’m in heaven!”

The only problem blog-post-wise is that I had to keep my eyes pretty much on my feet, for when we went over the ice that hadn’t all melted yet. I did not look around and appreciate the scenery as I like to do.

However, to make this a Mohawk Valley adventure, I can tell you where we walked to: The Herkimer Police Department to purchase tickets for the Beer and Wine Tasting Event on Saturday, March 8 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Francesca’s Banquet Hall, East Main Street, Ilion, NY. In addition to beer and wine tasting, hor d’oevres will be served. A 50/50 raffle and silent auction will take place. Participants will have a chance to meet officers and team members who responded to the tragic events in Herkimer and Mohawk March 13 and 14, 2013. Proceeds will be split between the Herkimer/Mohawk Special Response Team and K-9 Ape memorial.

While I bought our tickets, I took the opportunity to ask the officer if they had a stupid question department. I may have a few questions about police work for the novel I keep working on instead of writing blog posts all week. He was very gracious and said I could stop in with my questions when I was ready. That might be another blog post.