28 June 2024

Public mingles with police in new ‘Coffee with a Cop’ initiative launched at Griffin Plaza

| Oliver Jacques
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Police officer with woman

Senior Constable Tara Munro chatted with Maria Suine. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Griffin Plaza shopping mall was crawling with police on Thursday morning (27 June), but there were no offences being committed or unsavoury incidents in sight.

Instead, Murrumbidgee officers were there to introduce themselves, chat and have a cuppa with members of the public, in a new initiative called ‘Coffee with a Cop’.

“It’s a statewide initiative; I don’t think we’ve had this in Griffith for a while. It’s not hard to get started and get going,” Sergeant Greg Lynch said.

“Anyone can come along, ask questions, find out about our programs or just have a chat.

“The plan is not just to do it here, but also Leeton, Narrandera, Hay and all the small towns. We hope it will flow on.”

READ ALSO Ice pipe, three bags of crystal substance allegedly found in Griffith woman’s car

Newly appointed Murrumbidgee Police Commander Superintendent Ray Stynes was in attendance, as well as several other officers from the station and members of the Griffith Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYP), who provide programs and mentorship for young people.

Participating in the initiative were also Bella’s Cafe and the new Kami Coffee, which provided free hot beverages to those who came along.

Kami served its Axil Coffee, from a specialty Melbourne coffee roaster, which has been the talk of the town since the store opened. It’s also the only eatery in Griffith that offers banh mi (Vietnamese baguette sandwiches).

Police officers in mall

Senior Constable Fiona Spinks and Inspector Jason Dunn look forward to their coffee. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Maria Suine, 81, was one of the first members of the public to take up the opportunity for a chat with police officers.

“I think the police in Griffith are doing a fabulous job,” she said.

“But I’ve only ever had to deal with police once in my life, about 40 years ago when I was speeding. I’ve behaved since then.”

Murrumbidgee Police have been making a concerted effort to connect with residents more over the past few months.

Officers have also been riding around on bikes for the first time in years.

“When we’re in police cars, people can’t really stop us and talk,” Sergeant Lynch said.

“On bikes, we’re a lot more approachable.”

Constables Jess Davidson and Loai Osman also visited Beelbangera Public school last week and spoke to students as part of First Responders Day, a national appreciation day for those who help people during emergencies.

“They were swamped by lines of kids wanting to play with the sirens and ask the guys lots of questions about policing … Jess and Loai enjoyed it so much they’ve asked to go back again,” Inspector Glenn Smith said.

READ ALSO Bankrupt Griffith winemaker to face Penrith Local Court over alleged driving offence

Inspector Smith has also taken the opportunity this week to let people know about the Next of Kin Program, which helps people living alone to have the contact details of their nominated person recorded at a local police station.

“The contact details of the next of kin, as well as the nominated doctor, dentist and any medical alerts that would help in an emergency situation will be entered onto a register,” he said.

“Any information provided will be securely stored and only accessed by NSW Police. This information may assist the police and emergency services to contact a relative or other nominated person if needed in an emergency situation.”

To register for free, contact your local police station and ask to speak with the crime prevention officer about the Next of Kin Program.

There is also a link on the Murrumbidgee Police District Facebook page, where you can download the form and drop it off at the police station.

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