EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – It’s one more sign that things are getting back to normal. A tradition in East Hartford that was put on hold by the pandemic started back up today.
Before the pandemic, “Coffee with a Cop” happened every couple of months at one East Hartford Dunkin Donuts. Now it can again.
“Officers can get together with the community,” explained East Hartford Police Chief Scott Sansom. “No emergency. They can talk about real issues.”
For this first time back, more than a dozen officers showed up to get a little breakfast, and a lot of conversation. East Hartford resident Ed Dufour is a fan of the police, and of the Coffee with a Cop program.
“They get to know them, they get to know you,” Dufour said. “You can tell them about you, they can tell you about them.”
The pandemic made holding these get-togethers impossible. It made a lot of other interactions with the public difficult at best, and some police departments struggled as a result.
“Really hurt community policing,” said Chief Sansom. “We went through a lot in the country over the last couple years with COVID and George Floyd.”
Last summer’s protests put a real strain on some departments. East Hartford’s Chief says when activists marched in his community, he actually marched with them, alongside people that he met at Coffee with a Cop.
“When something like George Floyd happens, if you don’t have a relationship with the community already, sometimes it’s a little too late,” Chief Sansom said.
In terms of concerns he is hearing about now, it’s a lot of car break-ins, which is a big issue for East Hartford and a lot of surrounding towns. The Chief says he is collaborating with other departments to try to fix that problem.