Very rarely do local citizens get the chance to sit down and have a cup of coffee with members of the local law enforcement agencies.
Sampson Community College offered such an opportunity Tuesday, hosting the first ever Coffee with a Cop event in the Warren Student Center at the college. According to Jennifer Wiley, criminal justice department chair at the college, this event was very beneficial to someone who is interested in a career in law enforcement. Attendees were given the chance to speak to an officer one-on-one in casual conversation, while enjoying a cup of coffee and light refreshments.
“This was a great opportunity for students and the community to come out and meet local officers and learn more about their jobs and how they serve the community,” Wiley said. “It has been a great opportunity for students to chat with the officers on a personal level.”
Officers from the Sampson County Sheriff’s Department, Clinton Police Department, North Carolina Highway Patrol and North Carolina DMV were on hand to speak with students who shared an interest in the law enforcement profession or just wanted gain knowledge about the career.
The event was sponsored by the SCC Foundation and hosted by the college’s Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program and criminal justice department. Lt. Robert Dalton with the Clinton Police Department assisted Wiley in planning the social.
“Today has gone really well,” Dalton expressed. “Despite the rainy weather, we have had a good turn out. There are at least 12 different officers here and I’ve seen about 25 or 30 students who have shown interest in the field.”
Dalton, along with Cpl. Justin Snell, officer Brent Hall, Lt. Anthony Davis, Sgt. Eddie Carter, officer Tyler Williams and Sgt. Alpha Clowney, of the police department, all sat down and had one-on-one and group conversations with students, answering any questions about entering the law enforcement career.
“Students and officers had the chance to come together,” Dalton said. “Students don’t usually have the chance to get to know police officers and ask them questions, but today gave them that chance.”
The majority of the officers present, who were employees with the Clinton Police Department, are graduates of the SCC law enforcement program. Hall is a recent graduate, Wiley said, and it was good for the current students to see someone they may know working in the law enforcement field.
“Officer Hall just graduated from BLET and many of the students may know him,” Wiley said. “It’s good for them to see someone they can relate to and be able to ask him questions about what he is doing.”
According to Dalton, Tuesday’s event was a great way to bring students and officers together, on one accord.
“This has helped bridge the gap between the people of the community and the patrol officers,” Dalton shared.
Sgt. S.F. Cotton and Sgt. B.D. Smith, with the N.C. Highway Patrol, were also available to talk with students.
“This has been a good opportunity for students and us to get to know the local officers,” Cotton said.
Students were also treated to a surprise guest. K-9 Sarge of the Clinton Police Department visited and played with some students while taking a break from his duties.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.