Aiken Department of Public Safety talk issues, strengthen bond with community members over coffee

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – The brutality that erupted in Charlottesville has some people wondering if a violent protest could be prevented here in the CSRA.

One local law enforcement agency is making sure the lines of communication are open between them and the community.

Aiken Public Safety is strengthening ties to the community they serve – one cup of coffee at a time.

“I love what they do, I love how they are keeping us safe,” said Nancy Wagner.

Wagner just moved to Aiken from Seattle. She stopped by ‘coffee with a cop’ to meet some of the officers and ask them some important questions.

“I wanted to ask about the traffic and how to drive with these kind of wacky things y’all, listen to me, have down here,” Wagner said. “Because the circle and all that stuff, I couldn’t understand the left turn on the red light.”

All of Wagner’s questions were answered and she formed new relationships with several of the officers.

“And now you made a new contact?” Asked NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.

“I got a new BFF, so there you go. This is Officer Chris,” Wagner said.

Chief Charles Barranco says that’s the whole point these events, is to create a place where people and law enforcement can speak their minds in a civilized manner.

“This is the type of environment that you can deal or debate issues, and have a better understanding of what’s going on.” Barranco told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

“It also lets people know that we are human. Just like other people,” said Officer Dawn Drasher.

Forming stronger bonds creates a sense of trust among law enforcement and the Aiken community.

So when people know information whether it be criminal activity or potentially violence situations, like the one in Charlottesville, they are more willing to let law enforcement officers know.

“And that’s the biggest thing, being able to trust and know that we’re here to support you, not just take you to jail as most people think.” Detective Margaret Moore said.

“Show them that we are here. Show them that we are good people, that we are not the bad guys. We are here to protect them.” PSO Candidate John Vernon told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

Coffee with a cop is held 4 times a year.

Once a date has been set for the next one, we will let you know.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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