MANCHESTER -- Badges and uniforms are rarely a sign of good times, but the Manchester Police want to even things out a bit with the first "Coffee with a Cop" event, to be held this week.

"Normally people see police in the worst situations possible," said Manchester Police Officer Paul McGann. But on Friday from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Mrs. Murphy’s Donuts, located at 374 Depot St., anyone can sit down and have a chat with them over coffee.

McGann said there will be no agenda or list of talking points, just a conversation where people can ask questions, talk about concerns, or just learn more about the officers.

McGann said Chief Michael Hall, Cpl. James Blanchard, and Officer Jason Thomas will be at the coffee shop while he and Officer Abigail Zimmer will be at the Manchester Elementary and Middle School working with children on a bicycle safety program that features a safety check, obstacle course and later a mountain bike trail.

McGann said Coffee with a Cop is something done by police agencies nationwide. It has its roots in the University of Illinois Center for Safety and Justice. He and Hall attended a training session on how to host one and they plan to do more Coffee with a Cop sessions in addition to their other public outreach efforts, such as the bicycle safety program, which involves Battenkill Sports Bicycle Shop and the Manchester and the Mountain Bike Club.


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"We hope that community members will feel comfortable to ask questions, bring concerns, or simply get to know our officers," said Hall in a release. "These interactions are the foundations of community partnerships."

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.