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Police officers share coffee with citizens

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Lawton police officers joined customers for their breakfast and cup of coffee Friday morning. They call it "Coffee with Cops", and it's actually part of a national campaign that the department brought to Lawton in hopes of strengthening the relationship between the officers and the community they protect.

There were questions about how to prevent car break-ins, the crime rate in Lawton, and even bike safety. Payton Hirschfeld-Waskiewicz waited all week to come to coffee with cops with his grandmother not to have coffee with them, but to have them help him earn bicycle safety badges for cub scouts.

This is how the department hoped their first coffee with cops would kick off.

"You know especially seeing the kids interacting with the police officers, but also our more mature citizens to stop by and kind of let of us how we are doing," said Lawton Police Chief James Smith.

Chief Smith says getting out of the normal routine, and getting with citizens while they are stopping for breakfast is a good way to keep in touch with the community.

He says that allows the department to improve in their work.

"Let us know, that maybe we don't know exactly what's going on in that particular neighborhood, and kind of open our eyes and maybe refocus our mission," said Chief Smith.

Customers, like Dale Marchacek, came in for breakfast and ended up talking with the officers.

"There is lots of places around the country where the police really don't get along with the people and ours are making an effort to take that, I think it's a great idea," said Marchacek.

Payton's grandmother Meta Miller says she also wanted to teach her grandson about the police.

"I think it's important for kids this age have an interaction with police so that they feel a sense of safety and security," said Miller.

Payton left for school Friday morning knowing more about bike safety, and even how to use handcuffs. When asked if his classmates would be jealous of his morning, he said, “I don't even think they are going to believe me!"

The police department plans to have more Coffee with Cops events, and hopes to have them at different McDonald locations to reach more people.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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