November 30, 2021

Santa stops by for a cup at police event in Cortland

Cookies and — coffee

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Hadley Zavaski, 5, left, and Syndey Zavaski, 10, speak with St. Nick during Saturday’s Coffee with a Cop and Santa at BRU 64 in Cortland.

Five-year-old Carter Young would rather expect Santa to be at his home in the North Pole than at a coffee shop but there he was during Saturday’s Coffee with a Cop and Santa event at Bru 64 in Cortland.

The event, hosted by the Cortland Police Department in partnership with Fidelis Care and The Summit Federal Credit Union, gave children an opportunity to speak to Santa Claus, and later Buddy the Elf from the movie “Elf,” and receive gift bags. Free hot chocolate and coffee was also available for those attending.

“We do it because it’s all about building relationships between the police department and the community and letting the community know we’re here other than to just enforce the laws in our city,” Cortland Community Oriented Policing Officer Jesse Abbott said. “Community policing is really a staple of policing. It’s all about the trust and building relationships and having a good working relationship with our community.”

Young, who asked Santa for a Dominus Rex toy, said that even with Santa being at a coffee shop, he didn’t think that Santa drank coffee.

Eight-year-old Chantalise Downing said she thought Santa does drink coffee.

“When he’s feeling very tired,” she said.

Does he like his coffee bitter or sweet?

“Sweet,” Downing said.

Downing asked Santa for a kitchen set, purple cupcakes and a Cabbage Patch Kids doll, she said. She thought she would get them for Christmas.

With a police presence around a man who sneaks into people’s homes, how could the police not do anything?

“He’s Santa. What can we do about it? said Officer Michael Maniaci. “He’s delivering the kids presents.”

“He has permission to break into the houses,” he joked.

And how does Santa take his coffee?

“Santa likes his coffee black, plain,” Maniaci said.