Downtown Bagel was packed with laughter and chatter last Thursday as Town of Newburgh residents and police officers gathered over bagels and coffee. Thursday was the first Coffee with a Cop event in the Town of Newburgh.
Despite a tragic shooting two Sundays ago, life still goes on for Town of Newburgh residents. “They [the public] shouldn’t feel fear because this wasn’t a random act at all,” said Town of Newburgh Police Chief Donald Campbell. “They should feel safe because he’s [Kaleik Good-Ford, the man who was arrested for Sunday’s shooting] now behind bars.”
Residents expressed more concern over other matters of daily life, like traffic enforcement in the town and speeding. “It’s very difficult to control the speeding on every road in the town simultaneously,” said Campbell. “It’s almost everywhere.” Campbell said the police are working on monitoring speeding with devices like radar signs, and by assigning more officers to certain roads.
Officers spent the morning walking around the bagel shop speaking to any residents who had concerns. Campbell described the atmosphere in the bagel shop as “very cordial, very friendly, very relaxed.”
Sitting in the back of the shop were Town Supervisor Gil Piaquadio and Town Deputy Supervisor Scott Manley. “It feels very good to be here,” said Piaquadio as he watched residents meet with officers. “We always need a good relationship between the police and the community.”
Piaquadio noted that due to the size of the town, it can be difficult to always have officers on walking patrol. He expressed appreciation for the Town of Newburgh Police Department’s Police Benevolent Association’s organizing of the event.
According to Campbell, Coffee with a Cop is a national event. Agencies all over the nation have held the event in an effort to strengthen community relations. Campbell is hopeful that the Town of Newburgh Police Department will hold similar events in the future.
“We just want to have people meet the officers and be able to [talk] in a more relaxed setting than the police department,” said Campbell.
“I think the community itself has a very positive look on our police department,” said Manley. As a former police officer, Manley prioritizes community relations through his work.
“We have very positive feedback from our community. It’s very good, just from looking at the amount of public that is there [at the event],” said Manley. “Our officers are very good with the community.”
“Any activity we can get our officers involved in the community is positive,” said Campbell. He recommends that departments that struggle with community relationships focus on being involved in community activities.
“The more programs you have,” said Piaquadio. “The better.”
One of the Town of Newburgh Police Department’s programs is the adult police academy. The academy will start next month. There are also two junior police academies during the summer. According to Manley and Piaquadio, the programs are either always full or overflowing.
“We’re also very open,” said Manley over communication between the police department and the community. “When different organizations call [for programming], we make sure we try to send an officer.”
“We’re very lucky to have, I feel, the best police department in the county,” said Manley.