45th’s Coffee with a Cop receives community praise

Cariluz Muñoz (l) and police officer Lagani
Photo by Aracelis Batista

The 45th Precinct Community Council is bridging the gap between its police officers and the residents of the neighborhoods they serve.

On the evening of Wednesday, January 24, the council held its first ‘Coffee With A Cop’ event at the Miles Coffee Bar on East Tremont Avenue.

The event welcomed several dozen community residents and members of the 45th Precinct to a venue filled with laughter, positive conversation, and the smell of coffee aroma and cookies.

“We thought this more informal environment might help build some bridges between the community,” said John Doyle, a council officer. “As the council, we just thought this would be a nice way to bring people together and you know hopefully some good leads come out from the neighborhood.”

From girlscout troop leaders to businessmen and women, local volunteers, and everyday residents of the neighborhood, the coffee shop soon filled to max capacity with barely any room to walk around.

“It’s been really nice because I’ve never met anyone from the precinct so this is our first time meeting them,” said Throggs Neck resident, Floriluz Muñoz, who came with her husband and two children. The family had found out about the event from a friend in the area who posted it on Facebook.

“I liked meeting the cops. They’re cool,” said 12-year-old Cariluz Muñoz.

The shop provided some of their salted chocolate chip cookies and regular coffee for the event, with other items from their menu available for regular purchase.

Some officers even shared tips of their favorite foods at the coffee shop with fellow residents while community members literally shared some sweets with them

Elisa Toapha, an assistant girl scout troop leader and Catholic school teacher from Pelham Bay same to the event with her 8-year-old daughter, who was handing out king-sized candy bars to everyone at the event.

“I think that parents have to instill in their children at a young age, that if we don’t support [police officers], who’s going to do it,” said Toaphoa, with tears of joy forming in her eyes. “These kids someday might be police officers, they look up to them.”

While the cookies and coffee flowed freely, many people were more intrigued by their own conversations with the 45th Precinct police officers.

“They don’t want to just talk about community concerns, but actually interact in a positive way with the officers that are here,” said Sergeant Lawyerr from the precinct’s Traffic and Safety division. “One community member said she’d never seen anything like this and was happy to be here, so we’re all having a good time.”

Coffee With A Cop, though hosted by the precinct’s community council, was much like other community-bridging events happening around the city, though the council did not confirm this event was part of the overall NYPD initiative.

Police officer Petrucelli, who works in Domestic Violence at the 45th Precinct said, “Yeah we have a uniform, but we’re human too and we’re here to really help.”

The stereotype of cops as coffee drinkers and donut eaters was certainly debunked when one of New York’s finest remarked he was having his first ever cup of coffee at this event.

As the evening continued, members of the 45th Precinct made their way around the cafe, greeting everyone that came out, even if only to introduce themselves or say hello to familiar faces.

“Everybody should know everybody,” said community resident, Angelo Gonzalez, who’s real estate business is in Throggs Neck.

Reach Reporter Sarah Valenzuela at (718) 260-4584. E-mail her at svalenzuela@cnglocal.com.

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