Assistant Fire Chief Steve Larue and Fire Inspector Rob Gates hand out plastic fire helmets to children playing at the Crescent Woods Community Center before the Coffee with the Chiefs event Feb. 23. (Photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Assistant Fire Chief Steve Larue and Fire Inspector Rob Gates hand out plastic fire helmets to children playing at the Crescent Woods Community Center before the Coffee with the Chiefs event Feb. 23. (Photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Michael Strasser) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Drum Deputy Chief of Operations Morgan Cady, Assistant Fire Chief Steve Larue and Lt. Rob Derouin, supervisory conservation law enforcement officer, answer questions from Mountain Community Homes residents during the Coffee with the Chiefs meeting at Crescent Woods Community Center on Feb. 23. (Photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Fort Drum Deputy Chief of Operations Morgan Cady, Assistant Fire Chief Steve Larue and Lt. Rob Derouin, supervisory conservation law enforcement officer, answer questions from Mountain Community Homes residents during the Coffee with the Chiefs meeting at Crescent Woods Community Center on Feb. 23. (Photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Michael Strasser) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Feb. 24, 2021) -- Comfy couches, hot coffee and light refreshments set the tone for a neighborly and informative get-together called “Coffee with the Chiefs.”

Every month, Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes partners with the Directorate of Emergency Services for an open, informal community discussion about whatever is on the minds of community members.

Fort Drum Police Chief Todd Julian said that this program was established nearly three years ago so residents could ask questions and voice concerns directly to law enforcement and – recently included – fire officials on post.

“We wanted to present a forum where people felt comfortable talking with us about anything – whether it’s about people exceeding the speed limit in residential areas or what they can do to safeguard their homes during extended vacations,” Julian said. “We are here to support the community, but we also need to hear from them too so we can more effectively do our jobs.”

Topics can range from seasonal issues to situations in the housing areas being monitored by the police and fire departments. During the February meeting, the discussion centered on stray animals.

“The residents control the dialogue here,” Julian said. “We may have a couple of things we want them to be aware of, but basically these meetings are for the community members to have a voice and a way to positively affect their neighborhoods.”

Community center managers also attend each month to ask questions they received through regular interactions with residents.

“The community managers are there to work collaboratively with the chief of police to solve concerns raised by residents,” said Megan Klosner, Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes project director. “This program is helpful as yet another avenue of communication for our residents, and it promotes a stronger relationship between the police department and those it serves.”