Talk with a cop over coffee
May 5, 2015
Summit County Sheriff Justin Martinez is continuing his ongoing effort to change the face of the department and how its deputies interact with the public by initiating a monthly program referred to as "Coffee with a Cop."
"Coffee with a Cop" provides the public the opportunity to "sit down with no agenda and interact with deputies" in an informal setting, Martinez said.
Each month, Martinez will join law enforcement officials at different coffee shops throughout the county for an hour of coffee and conversation. Deputies and other law enforcement officials from various departments, including investigations, corrections and patrol, are also expected to attend monthly gatherings.
"I want to let people know that I am available to them and that I am accessible," Martinez said. "We want people to come out and interact with other deputies. This is about opening the doors of dialogue between the Sheriffs Office and the community."
Since taking office, Martinez has voiced a desire to bring a "holistic and customer service approach" to law enforcement, including his vow to revamp the Summit County Citizens Advisory Board.
"I’m trying to break down some of those walls out in the community," he said, adding that he is not very accessible even at the Sheriff’s Office.
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If a member of the public wants to sit down with him, they must first go through security and a metal detector when first entering the building. Once past that point, everyone is required to talk with the secretary, who is behind glass, and then she notifies Martinez he has a visitor.
"I want to break down those barriers so that someone might not have to go through the whole process of trying to enter the Sheriff’s Office," he said.
The first "Coffee with a Cop" experience was held last month at Kimball Junction. Martinez said it was a "very productive" morning and he received a lot of positive feedback. Most of the conversation, he said, focused on the debate surrounding the city’s and county’s leash laws.
"That’s what everyone wanted to talk about," he said.
While Martinez said the purpose of the monthly event is to spark conversation about community issues and concerns, he was quick to add that he doesn’t want people to feel like he’s only there to talk about hot-button issues.
"This is just a part of making myself available," he said. "If they want to talk about problems, jokes or their favorite ski runs, we can also do that."
This month’s "Coffee with a Cop" will be held Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Park City Coffee Roasters, 1680 W Ute Blvd, in Newpark.
For more information about "Coffee with a Cop" visit the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Summit-County-Sheriff/145605372132064 .
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