With a half-moon cookie in hand, 3-year-old Marcella Barden beamed a smile Wednesday while having her picture taken with Homer Police Chief Robert Pitman at Sinfully Sweet Cafe in Homer.
Robyn Puzo, Barden’s grandmother, brought Barden to the cafe to show that police officers like Pitman are there to help.
“I just wanted to introduce her to the police force and all the important things they do,” Puzo said.
Puzo and other village residents got a chance to speak with Pitman and Homer police officers during the department’s Coffee with a Cop event Wednesday.
The department was taking part in national Coffee with a Cop Day, Pitman said. It serves as a way for people to get to know their local officers.
“It’s a great way to meet community members and to form a dialogue and relationship and friendship with residents,” Pitman said.
Homer Police Department has participated in Coffee with a Cop for the last three years, excluding last year when it was canceled by the pandemic. The turnout was small Wednesday morning, Pitman said, in part because people remain hesitant to meet at gatherings because of the pandemic.
One of those who stopped by was Mike McMahon, owner of E-Z Acres Farm. Each year, he hosts a chicken barbecue for police agencies in the area to thank the departments like Homer’s.
The department’s participation in Coffee with a Cop, he said, helps make it special.
“It’s part of what Bob (Pitman) does to encourage outreach to the community and I think it’s a wonderful thing,” McMahon said.
He didn’t come with any particular topics or issues to talk about, rather just to catch up with Pitman and others. Pitman said he plans another Coffee with a Cop event during Small Business Saturday after Thanksgiving this year.
“My biggest goal is to show we are human and that we are there to talk with people,” he said. “We’re people, too.”