The Dallas Examiner
In order to strengthen the relationship between police and the citizens, the Dallas Police Department and McDonald’s of Greater North Texas partnered together to host Coffee with Cops, March 4 at seven McDonald’s locations in each of the DPD patrol divisions.
This year, representatives from the Dallas Animal Services, DART and Dallas Fire-Rescue joined the initiative, giving citizens the opportunity to meet other groups serving their community.
For five consecutive years, the two organizations have given the community an opportunity to talk to local law enforcement officers, get to know them, ask them questions pertaining to the law and meet other residents while drinking a free cup of coffee.
“Too often people get an image of what a police officer is. Once they get in here and talk to us face to face, they realize we are just normal people,” Sgt. Karl D. Kemper said.
Kemper is a supervisor in the Neighborhood Police Unit, supervising a group of 12 police officers, and has served on the force for 27 years.
The NPO began in the 90s as the need for more manpower as the city grew – freeing up time for regular patrol officers to respond to emergencies. It oversees issues including neighbor disputes, code enforcements, drug houses and prostitution. The NPO officers also work with the community and DPD to set up events to create more open dialogue.
“We work within the north central division to address ongoing problems and issues that regular patrol officers may not have time to patrol,” Kemper added.
He expressed his belief that since the start of this event, law enforcement has been able to foster a relationship with the community. Overall, his experience has been positive. Sometimes, people come into the event hostile about a situation with their neighbors or in their community when they feel like their issue has been overlooked. After addressing the issue, they are usually able to come to an agreement.
He said he gets asked questions like why he became an officer, discussions about reporting suspects and inquiries about starting crime watch groups.
The NPO does different community events all year round. One of the more popular events is called Chief on the Beat, which began back in 2010. They partner up with the fire department, animals services and other organizations to provide crime prevention, safety and entertainment. For more information on how to get in touch with your local NPO and upcoming events visit, http://www.dallaspolice.net/communitys.