Thursday morning, Aiken residents got the chance to share a cup of coffee with some of Aiken's finest at the Coffee with a Cop event.
We talke to Aiken Department of Public Safety officers on a regular basis, but they want to talk to YOU...people who may not know them, but who do know what's going on in your neighborhood.
Little Arianna...she knows she loves pancakes, but she's still learning about the police.
"She's a growing young lady," says William Nicholson, Arianna's grandfather. "And smart!" says Arianna. "Smart, I want her to know that and feel like they are always her friends," says Nicholson.
Nicholson knows everyone didn't get the same exposure to law enforcement that Arianna's getting: "They grew up with the, shall I say, people telling them, police are going to get you, they're told that when they're children," he says.
"'If you don't do good, start behaving, see that policeman, he's gonna get you.' That's not a good way to introduce them to law enforcement. This is a good way," says Aiken Councilwoman Gail Diggs.
At Coffee with a Cop...officials says, whether you want coffee or just a coke, they want you to know they want to get to know you.
"Just here, time dedicated to them, have a cup of coffee, it's early get the day started with coffee and conversation," says Corporal J. Bickle, of the Aiken Department of Public Safety.
This is only the first event, but those conversations are already starting... Over cups of coffee, with people like Roger: "The more they get to know us, the more we get to know them, the more we can fight crime," he says.
Police officers say, Roger is right: "No one knows their neighborhood, like the people that live in it," says Corporal Bickle.
The next Coffee with a Cop will be August 15th...and there should be one every month. Those will move around the city to be more convenient for everyone in Aiken, so we'll keep you posted on the details.
And, Aiken Department of Public Safety officers are also trying to reach a demographic that's more interested in Kool-Aid than in coffee: Kids.
Thursday night, they're focusing on kids in Crosland Park, which has experienced increased crime in recent years, including being the site of several shootings.
ADPS will be holding a movie night outside right off Crosland Drive. They'll show a great flick and have some snacks, and just get to know people. They say those connections help prevent and solve crime.
"This type of interaction, in long run help us, develop relationships with these kids, those relationships last throughout the years, when we have other crimes, relationship have with kids, talk with them solve crimes, and it's a give and take type relationship," says Sergeant MAtt Braxton, with the Aiken Department of Public Safety.
That kicks off around 7:00 p.m. Thursday night, off Crosland Drive in Aiken. And again, it is a free, safe, family-friendly event.
Also in Aiken, want a free lunch and parenting tips? Aiken City Councilwoman Gail Diggs wants parents, especially single parents, to know - you are not alone.
She's working with nonprofits in the area to put together a forum for parents that will run from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Saturday at River of Life Church.
Why should you put it on your calendar? "It will be an opportunity for peope to come and voice concerns, want to know what needs are, find solutions, single parents like myself, just want everybody to know, they face a lot of struggles, but they can get through it," says Diggs.
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