EUREKA- Captains with the Eureka Police Department say they are working to make the agency more approachable and available to the community. On Tuesday, the department held the first ever Coffee with the Captains, which is designed to do just that.
About 75 people came to Vellutini’s Baking Company on Tuesday to talk one-on-one with Eureka’s Police Captains about issues facing the community.
"A lot of it was that they just wanted to share the fact that they're grateful for what we do. They appreciate events like this where they get to know us a little better. Obviously thefts, how they can protect themselves more and their home. What they can do to keep their property from being stolen and the prolific problems we're having right now in the area and what they can do to help better themselves and help keep themselves safe," said Captain Brian Stephens with the EPD.
"I think it brings great rapport between the community and the police. I think it makes them feel safer in getting to know them on a one-to-one basis brings out that positive energy for them," said Valerie Hanson, who is a Eureka resident.
A co-owner of Vellutini’s Baking Compan, Mary Vellutini, asked officials what the business can do to about the sometimes disorderly people who cause disturbances at the bakery.
"They encouraged us to talk to one another and keep our eyes when we see someone who clearly doesn't have our best interest at heart, or anybody's best interest at heart but their own and to communicate with other business owners and just keep an eye out and let them know when there's something that really needs attention paid to it," said Vellutini.
"Any community or neighborhood, whether it's a business neighborhood like Henderson Center or a neighborhood in an area where you actually live can certainly benefit from the neighbors getting together, talking about issues, bringing issues out into the light of day, strategizing about techniques and other things they can do to improve the conditions in their neighborhood and collaborating with the police," said Captain Steve Watson with the EPD.
Police also discussed why people should donate to service providers as opposed to giving homeless people money on the street.
"You're ensuring that the money is going to actual food and shelter and clothing for these individuals versus to fuel a drug or alcohol problem and you're also going to deal with less complaints about aggressive panhandlers, individuals who may be obstructing traffic or creating other issues in the city," Captain Watson said.
Police say this event will be held multiple times per year and will serve to make eureka a safer place.
“Without the community, a lot of times, there's a lot of issues we'll never know about or be able to address because we won't get the information that they know and they can share with us. So by having a more open relationship, they'll share more information and we'll hopefully do a better job of being able to affect the things that concern their quality of life," Captain Stephens said.
The next Coffee with the Captains will be held next month.