'Coffee with a Cop' connects with the community

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- There was something brewing in West Ashley on Wednesday morning, but it wasn't trouble. Residents had the opportunity to meet with City of Charleston police officers and tell them their concerns, both good and bad, over coffee Wednesday.The 'Coffee with a Cop' meeting was held at the Chick-Fil-A on Savannah Highway by the City of Charleston Police Department. 'Coffee with a Cop' is a national program supported by the U.S. Department of Justice.

It was an old fashioned face-to-face meeting with neighborhood cops. The meeting was an informal, neutral space to discuss community issues, build relationships, and drink some free coffee.

"I think it's a great thing, you know, it needs to happen way in the future too because some people don't like police to come to their house," said CPD Sgt. Damien Seabrook. "But I think it's a great thing to just sit down because a lot of people have perceptions with police officers and a lot of people need to know we are human just like them."

Police department officials say most of the time, the public only meets with cops in emergency situations and at times that aren't the best to get to know each other.

"It's just an open dialogue -- cops being honest as well as citizens being honest,"{}Seabrook said.

Officers say they want to get rid of the stigma that they are 'always out to get you' or are unapproachable on the streets.

"We might give them some ideas, but they might give us some ideas," Seabrook said. "We are the Department -- we listen to the community and we are always willing to learn."