The Belton Police Department would like to invite the public to enjoy a cup of coffee and chat with local officers.

The department issued the following press release Monday evening:

On Saturday, July 25, 2015, officers from the Belton Police Department and community members will come together in an informal, neutral space to discuss community issues, build relationships, and drink coffee. All community members are invited to attend. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. at Fry’s Restaurant, 802 S. Main Street in Belton.

Coffee with a Cop provides a unique opportunity for community members to ask questions and learn more about the department’s work in Belton neighborhoods.

The majority of contacts law enforcement has with the public happen during emergencies, or emotional situations. Those situations are not always the most effective times for relationship building with the community, and some community members may feel that officers are unapproachable on the street. Coffee with a Cop breaks down barriers and allows for a relaxed, one-on-one interaction.

“We hope that community members will feel comfortable to ask questions, bring concerns, or simply get to know our officers,” said Chief Gene Ellis. “These interactions are the foundation of community partnerships.”

Coffee with a Cop is a national initiative. Similar events are being held across Texas, as local police departments strive to make lasting connections with the communities they serve. This will be Belton’s second Coffee with a Cop event.

The program aims to advance the practice of community policing through improving relationships between police officers and community members one cup of coffee at a time.