A cup of coffee and chance to connect

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 9, 2021

Burlington Elementary event part of National Coffee with a Cop Day

On Wednesday morning, several local law officers gathered outside a school. Not because of an emergency situation, but rather just to have a cup of coffee before heading back on patrol.

Burlington Elementary principal Michael Clay said the school looks at what national days are celebrated and they found out Wednesday was National Coffee with a Cop Day.

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“So, we thought we would give back to the community and invite our law enforcement in and provide some coffee,” Clay said.

Besides officers starting their day off with some coffee, Clay said it provides a chance for students to see the officers in a different way than just people who show up when something bad happens.

“It gives the students a chance to see law enforcement in a different light, that they are part of the community and they are here to help,” he said. “So we just like to make that connection for our kids and our community.”

Clay said they have officers in the school often. One in particular is Deputy Scott Wilson with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and is a school resource officer.

“He comes in frequently to see the kiddos and interact with them. He has a good rapport with them and the kids really warm up to him. They see he is there to help,” Clay said. “That is the opposite effect of when they see the news and think someone is in trouble. That is not the case, when law enforcement is here, they don’t think anyone is in trouble.”

This is the first time the school has done this particular event and Clay said they will probably do it again next year.

“If it is on the calendar, we are more than happy to do this,” he said.

Around a dozen officers stopped by, although they weren’t necessarily there for the coffee.

OSHP trooper David Bayless didn’t have a cup, he was there just for the kids.

“We wanted to participate and make sure we came down and make sure that they knew we appreciated it,” he said. “We wanted to talk to them as much as we can and try to have that interaction with them.”

He said it was very important to interact with the younger members of the community.

“A lot of times, we don’t get have the ability to come out and talk to the kids, so anytime we can come in and do something like this and interact, we want to take advantage of it. Because it is important that we come in here and make them more comfortable around us.”