It might seem rare to see a group of RCMP officers in uniform at Cloverdale’s Rustic Rooster, drinking coffee while chatting with residents. But that’s what Coffee with a Cop is all about.
Since 2015, the Surrey RCMP has been hosting coffee shop meet ups in districts around the city to allow people to discuss policing issues in an informal setting. For Cloverdale/Port Kells district commander Sgt. Winston Shorey, it’s a part of why he got into policing.
“I was brought up in a small town and the police were very much a part of the community,” he said. “When I moved out here three years ago, it’s a big city. The relationship between the police is a little bit different just because it’s so big.
“I guess it’s something I just remember as a kid, and it’s one of the reasons I became a police officer,” he added.
“That’s always been a key piece of policing, over my career, is to make sure we have good, strong, solid relationships built with the community. This is part of that.”
For Shorey, who is often out in the community in his role, these events are a little more formal than normal. But he says they’re important none the less.
“At Coffee with a Cop, you get access to multiple levels of management here,” Shorey said. “It gives the community a chance to speak to multiple people here.”
So far, Coffee with a Cop has visited the Whalley and Cloverdale communities.
According to Staff Sgt. Wendy Mehat, the host of this year’s coffee events, between 40 and 50 people attended the Coffee with a Cop in Whalley.
“It worked out really well,” she said. “We got to meet young people, old people. It was kind of every single group. So it was fantastic.”
Future Coffee with a Cop events will be held at Cuatro Coffee (9014 152 Street) on Oct. 17, Moka House Coffee and Bistro (16041 24 Avenue) on Oct. 18 and Espresso Cafe (7330 137 Street) on Oct. 19. All go from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
For Shorey, these events are a chance for the community to work together with policing.
“People look at policing from a ‘I’m a police officer so that’s kind of my problem,’” Shorey said, “Well, it is. It’s my primary role is policing. But at the same time, in order to meet the community’s needs … we have to work collectively and in concert in order to make sure the community is a very livable, safe, happy place to be.
“We’re all responsible for that.”