By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterMarch 21, 2014
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (March 21, 2014) -- Fort Rucker's Police officers and first responders are out to make sure the installation remains a safe community for its Army Families, but without input, the community's concerns can go on unknown.
That's why Fort Rucker's Directorate of Public Safety is introducing Coffee With A Cop March 26 from 9-10 a.m. at the Bowden Terrace Community Center as a way to give people in the community a voice, said Maj. Joshua Munch, deputy provost marshal.
"The intent behind Coffee With A Cop is so that community members can sit down with the people, police officers and first responders that work in their neighborhood and work on the installation, and ask them questions to get general information about things they might (be concerned) about," he said. "It's pretty much an open forum and the overall goal is to help educate the community about what we're doing and what it is we do for the community."
Munch said that the forum is also a way to help address any concerns and issues people may have in a particular neighborhood that authorities might not be aware of.
"We see a lot of things on Facebook and on the Fort Rucker Spouses Club page, but a lot of times a lot of that stuff doesn't get to us," said the deputy provost marshal. "This is a good opportunity for people to talk to us and tell us things. Unless we know what the issues are, we can't address them."
It's also important to have this type of communication to help break down barriers and preconceived notions, said Munch.
"Some people don't like the police and we want to show the community that we're here to improve the community overall," he said, adding that the best way to change the public's perception is with open dialogue with Families and children.
This is an opportunity to help children become comfortable talking to the police and first responders, so that they're not afraid, said Munch.
"There are some stigmas that some people may associate with the police and first responders," he said. "It always seems like we're the bad guys because we're the ones that take the (people) away, and when children see (people) go away in handcuffs it leaves an impression on them."
As long as children know that police and first responders are the good guys, they know that they can go to them for help, said the deputy provost marshal.
"That's why I think this is a great idea," he said. "If they can find the time to come out and talk with us, then we can show them what we can do to help -- it's a great opportunity."