The Aiken Department of Public Safety officers are offering residents a chance to chat over a cup of coffee on Thursday morning.


The inaugural Coffee with a Cop will be held at the York Street McDonald's.


Cpl. Jennifer Bickel said Public Safety plans to hold this event once a month in different parts of the City to connect with the community in an informal, neutral environment.


Coffee with a Cop is a nationwide initiative that's supported by the United States Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, according to a press release.


Bickel said the program goes hand-in-hand with the City's Safer Communities Initiative.


Bickel said that, oftentimes, the interactions between the police and the public are during an emergency or other stressful situations. Coffee with a Cop is a chance for residents sit down with local officers to ask questions, discuss community issues and learn more about the Public Safety Department. The officers are available to answer questions, or to simply talk with the residents.


“We hope that community members will feel comfortable to ask questions, bring concerns, or simply get to know my fellow officers,” Bickel stated in a press release. “These interactions are the foundation of community partnerships.”


Bickel said these casual discussions over coffee can help establish stronger bonds between residents and those who serve to protect them on a daily basis.


Bickel added that any local cafes or restaurants that would like to host a Coffee with a Cop can contact her at 803-642-7620 or jbickel@cityofaikensc.gov.


Coffee with a Cop will start at 8 a.m. on Thursday at the McDonald's located at 1157 York St.


Amy Banton is the County beat reporter for the Aiken Standard. Originally from Rustburg, Va., she graduated from Randolph Macon Woman's College and has been with the newspaper since 2010.