The Lacombe Police Service (LPS) is looking to bridge the gap between policing and the community with their new program Coffee with a Cop.
Constable Vaughan Bleasdale, LPS community liaison officer, is hoping to connect with as many residents as possible through the program, which is hosted at the Lacombe Memorial Centre on Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m.
“It is a way for the community to come in and have a chat with me about any problems, concerns or ideas they may have in the community,” he said. “It can be anything from speeding vehicles to a just a general idea on where they want the Police Service going.
“I can take that back to the police chief and we can see where that falls within our current policies and plans.”
The idea is not unique to LPS, but Bleasdale feels it is important for the police in a small community to be part of the community
“You want the public to see different sides of us,” he said. “You don’t want them to always see us in a negative light. What you want to see is us in the community, working with the public and letting people see that we aren’t just giving tickets and dealing with people negative.
“There is a positive side to us as well and there are a lot of different alternate things we can do.”
Bleasdale expects to hear a variety of issues throughout the program and hopes to be able to address many of the concerns in Lacombe.
“The thing about this program is that everyone will have something a little bit different,” he said. “In each neighborhood it could be anything from people riding around on dirt bikes to even lowering speed limits. People have different ideas and have different issues where they see things that bother them or they see things they would like to see changed.
“This gives them an opportunity to have a chat with me and we can push forward.”
The City of Lacombe will also take part in the program in order to provide their own feedback and also to continue to foster a working relationship with LPS.
“Guy Lapointe, who is our economic director, will also be here — so you also get someone from the City along with myself,” he said, adding he expects to hear some feedback on the City’s upcoming community standards bylaw which will be enforced by both bylaw officers and LPS.
“We do have two bylaw officers who deal specifically with bylaw. Typically we would transfer to them, but after hours we definitely deal with noise complaints and stuff like that,” Bleasdale said.
He added, “I look forward to meeting everybody. I think it is important in a community like this that we bridge the gap and work together.”