Yakima police sit down for coffee and conversations with the public
YAKIMA, Wash.-- People of Yakima came out to support their local police. They enjoyed some hot coffee and some conversation at Starbucks. Sgt. Joseph Deccio said this is a humanizing opportunity for the police department.
“People talk about the crime in Yakima, but I would say overall what I’ve noticed is people just wanting to interact and get to know officers on more of a personal level. And I even talk to people about where they're from, where I’m from, where I grew up, and a lot of times it’s just more of a personal interaction. And it’s not as professional as normally we come into contact with the community,” said Deccio.
Pastor Willie Pride Jr. said he's been having coffee with cops for years, and he's seen the good work and change that they've brought to the city.
“In our community, we had a lot of vandalism. We had where cars were abandoned. We had break-ins, and over the last year and a half, the police are patrolling more . They've come out more. A barrier between the community and the police department has really broken down,” said Pride.
People paid cops a visit for a number of reasons. Nyssa Spring said she stopped by to chat with the cops in hopes of being one herself, someday. Spring said the cops here bring positivity to Yakima and they put their lives on the line, daily. Her hope is that others will show their appreciation.
“When I'm on Facebook or whatever, I always see all this hate aimed towards them, and they work so hard for us, trying to do things the right way. Do they always do things the right way? No - they're human like the rest of us, but they're trying. And it's not fair to judge all of them on the merits of a few,” said Spring.
Pride agrees. He said people should keep an open mind. He also recommends people keep a dialogue going with the police so the community can have a transparent relationship with them.
“If there’s something going on in the community, throughout the valley, let’s talk about it. Come to the table. As I've heard many, many times, if you're not at the table, then you become a part of the menu,” said Pride.
The Yakima Police Department take part in Coffee with a Cop throughout the year. Check back with us to see when you can chat with them next.