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Public, police connect

Homer has Coffee With the Chief

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Homer Police Chief Robert Pitman listens to the concerns of Homer residents, including Jim Jeffalone, right, on Saturday during “Coffee With the Chief” at Sinfully Sweet Cafe in the village. Jeffalone spoke with Pitman about out-of-town trash haulers using Route 41 to avoid inspection stations.

Homer Police Chief Robert Pitman spent about four hours Saturday morning at Sinfully Sweet Cafe on Main Street; not for a crime, for the opportunity to chat about cars, traffic, holiday shopping — whatever they wanted.

For the second year, he made time for “Coffee with the Chief,” this time with Officer Don Warren, giving residents the chance to meet him.

“I’m getting to know them, and they’re getting to know me,” Pitman said, who took office as chief Jan. 1, 2016. “It is a good way to meet people in the community.”

Saturday was also Small Business Saturday, where people in the community are encouraged to shop at their local small businesses. Having the meeting at Sinfully Sweet Cafe was also a way for Pitman to help promote the initiative. Customers would grab a coffee or hot chocolate, and maybe even a sweet, and then grab an open chair and share their thoughts.

About seven people were in the cafe at about 9:30 a.m., halfway through the event, but more came and went throughout the morning.

Pitman said some people wanted to discuss the amount of traffic coming through the village, and tractor-trailers that come through at times. But for the most part, they just wanted to have a conversation.

Homer resident Roger Wrisley, brought his granddaughters, 5-year-old Miranda and 9-year-old Nora, to the cafe to enjoy some treats and meet the officers. They were both shy, but it didn’t take long for Wrisley to find himself in a conversation about his Corvette with Warren. The two swapped stories about their passion for cars, and shared pictures of the ones they dream about.

“They’re friendly, you have to be friendly back,” Wrisley said.

Warren, who has been an officer with the Homer Police Department for about 14 years, said he always enjoys talking with people and getting to know them. It was his first time attending “Coffee with the Chief.”

Pitman said one thing he hoped people took away from the event is that they can call him, and the other officers anytime. Not just for complaints. He’ll talk with them about anything they want.

He plans to hold the event again next year, the same time as this year, the first Saturday after Thanksgiving.

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