CARRBORO — With all the cop cars outside Johnny’s of Carrboro Friday morning, someone passing by might have thought a crime had been committed.
But it was coffee, not crime, that brought the cars to the blue house at 901 W. Main St. “Coffee with a Cop,” to be specific, a program for people to get to know their local law enforcement officers.
Some Johnny’s regulars, including “the town doctor,” Bruce Wilks, and David Summer, who owns The Framers Corner, a custom framing shop, often stop by for a cup of coffee on their way into work, and they enjoyed seeing some of the officers.
“I know a lot of these folks just because of being in business for 32 years in Carrboro,” Summer said. “They’re fantastic. I think we have one of the most professional organizations around.”
Wilks used the opportunity to ask some of the officers why they became police officers and some of the challenges they face, especially when dealing with people under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Officer Alison Delaney told Wilks she tries to remember that everyone is human, even those who are drunk or under the influence of drugs.
“I have to understand that the person who is obliterated out of their mind is not the person they are,” she said.
Emily Brewer, who lives around the corner from Johnny’s, brought her 4-year-old son, Dylan McDonough, over for the morning event after she read about it on Johnny’s Facebook page.
“I wanted to ask them about some of the noise violations in our neighborhood,” she said.
A group of college students who rent a house nearby like to party late into the night, after her son has already gone to bed.
“I wanted to ask when it was advisable to call 911,” she said.
Another question she had was what to do about a man who regularly comes by her house asking for money.
“I want to foster a good relationship between law enforcement and responsible citizens and teach my son who he can trust and who he can turn to for help,” she said.
Dylan had a good time talking to the officers, leading one around the coffee shop to show him some of the toys there. He received a badge, which he proudly stuck on his jacket, that said he was junior police officer.
The officers enjoyed the morning as well. With a stiff cold wind outside, it was good to go inside the cozy community gathering spot, sit down for a cup of coffee and talk with folks.
Sgt. Billy Austin, who jokingly posed for a picture while taking a big bite of a donut, organized the event. It’s based on a national program, that was started in a town in California, he said.
“I’m very pleased with our first one,” he said.
About 20 people stopped in, sat down and chatted with the officers, he said. One woman told him it was the first time she had ever met a cop, he said.