Police Host Coffee Chat and K-9 Storybook Time
By October 7, 2021 0 141•
More than a dozen small children and their parents gathered around Officer A. Rodriguez, a 26-year veteran Metropolitan Police Officer, in Rose Park Wednesday afternoon and listened to her eagerly, leaning forward intently while observing social distancing and reaching out to touch her police K-9 partner, Tiger.
Rodriguez was reading to them from a colorful storybook — her story as a canine patrol officer for 17 years as described in her just published book “Doggy Defender: Tiger, the Police Dog.”
At the same time, 2nd District Metropolitan Police Commander Duncan Bedlion — wearing his own Starbucks apron — and some ten MPD officers, hosted Georgetown residents and guests from 2:30 to 4:3o p.m. Wednesday afternoon, for a coffee and chat party. Everyone ambled and stood among dozens of Halloween ghouls, bales of hay and pumpkins, donated by Nancy Taylor Bubes’s real estate group, that were just installed as part of Washington Harbour’s holiday display.
The Oct. 6 coffee clutch was part of the fifth annual national “Coffee with a Cop” Day event that took place across the nation and the District in cafes, restaurants and parks. Organized first in 2016 by the National CwC non profit organization, its mission is to break down the barriers between police officers and the citizens they serve.
In Georgetown, Commander Bedlion and other officers acknowledged that they were dealing with an increase in neighborhood incidents: car break-ins had increased as had incursions into open backyards and gardens by homeless persons being displaced from the federal parks where they had been camping. “We have all received enhanced training in intervention techniques and dealing with mental and emotional breakdown episodes,” officers told the Georgetowner. Enhanced team work is slowly increasing as he number of non-law enforcement personnel who are experts in these kinds of law breaking events.
The cop-reading-a-book in Rose Park was part of a monthly children’s outdoor story time event organized by Allister Chang, the Ward 2 State Board of education representative, a Friends of Rose Park board member and Rose Park Farmers Market organizer. Chang, who is also a Halcyon innovator fellow, is a literacy advocate whose two-year project incorporates reading in places where the public gathers.
“I think we can all agree that the last six months have been some of the most challenging times we have faced in our (law enforcement) careers,” wrote Michael Ishii, administrator for the CwC non-profit organization in Hawthorne, California — and that city’s police chief. “It is important that our line-level patrol officers have an opportunity to meet regular folks and have a normal conversation. CwC is the event that allows us to do that.”