Officers from the Department of Public Safety sat down Tuesday with members of the public for the first ever Coffee With a Cop at McDonald’s Saipan on Middle Road for an informal chat on any issues or concerns that they may have.
According to McDonald’s Middle Road general manager Joe Ayuyu Jr., the event was created to bring together the community and the police department and establish a better bond.
The coffee came free.
“By bringing the cops and the community to a neutral place such as McDonald’s over a free coffee, it gives an opportunity for the community and the officers to connect and to just get to know one another and build a stronger relationship,” said Ayuyu.
He said events like this are an opportunity for people to meet with those whose jobs are to protect them.
“These are the people that protect us on a daily basis and they protect the community. We depend on them. It’s hard to depend on somebody when you don’t trust them and have an open communication with them,” said Ayuyu.
Although it’s a small step in developing a bond between the community and DPS, he said it’s a step in the right direction.
Public Safety Commissioner Robert Guerrero told Saipan Tribune that it’s necessary for the department to reach out to the community because safety is a joint effort.
“We need to work together as a community because police officers cannot fight crimes alone,” he said.
Guerrero said the event would be the start for the community and all law enforcement agencies to establish a bond to ensure a safer environment.
“Any assistance that we can get helps, especially from the community, because they see more of what is out there than we do,” said Guerrero,
According to police captain Joe Saurez, the current ratio of police officers to community members in the CNMI is one officer for every 500 individuals. The ideal is typically one officer for every 52 people.
Guerrero said the community shouldn’t be limited to organized events to get the chance to communicate with a police officer. “We welcome it,” said Guerrero. “My officers enjoy mingling with the public. We’re your friends not your enemies.”
Rep. Edwin K. Propst (Ind-Saipan) said he had a great time discussing different issues with the officers.
By personally meeting with a few of the officers, Propst said he was able to learn about their struggles and got a brief overview on what they deal with every day.
The program is already being done at McDonald’s branches in Guam.