This coming week, the New Bedford Police Department has something brewing that will help close the gap between police officers and residents of the community that they protect.

"Coffee with a Cop" will be taking place the entire week, October 2-6, in honor of National Community Policing Week. Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro tells WBSM News other communities have had great success with the Coffee with a Cop program, and he's excited to see where it can lead in New Bedford.

The program requires community members to reach out to the police department and set up a time where they can be matched with an officer, to sit down and discuss whatever they'd like during the time allotted over a cup of coffee.

"It gives our community members a chance to sit down with a police officer and just have a conversation about anything, really," he said. "And develop that relationship and continue to foster that relationship between the police and the community. We want to be seen as members of the community, and we want all the members of that community work together as one to make our city better."

Cordeiro said he expects many people will want to have conversations that focus specifically on crime or quality of life issues in their specific neighborhoods, but they don't have to be limited to just police business.

"I suspect some might just want to have more conversational conversations with the officer, and get to know the officer as a human being," he said. "I think they might want to take that opportunity to get insight into the eyes of a police officer. And some may want even more casual conversation. They may want to talk politics, or sports, common interests. It'll be wide-ranging."

The chief thinks that while Coffee With a Cop is beneficial for citizens to have their concerns heard, he also thinks it's a chance for them to realize that a police officer is more than just a uniform, badge and gun.

"I think it's going to give our officers an opportunity to really expose themselves as human beings, to talk about what's important to them and some of the frustrations they have doing this work," he said. "I think the community and the police officers will develop a deeper and more sincere appreciation for one another."

And Cordeiro said it's okay if you're not into coffee.

"It's not about the substance we're drinking, it's about having that 20 minutes of time to get to know one another," he said.

Also as part of National Community Policing Week, the three police stations will hold Open Houses for one hour each day, for the public to come in and see for themselves how the stations operate.

"It's as much your house as it is ours," Cordeiro said.

To set up a coffee date with a cop, just contact your local police station. The downtown Station 1 can be reached at (508) 991-6340. Station 2 in the South End can be reached at (508) 991-6355, and the number for Station 3 in the North End is (508) 991-6360. The Open Houses will be held from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday of this week at each of the three stations as well.

"It's a great opportunity to really build our relationships, and initiate new ones," Cordeiro said. "I'm optimistic there will be a lot of great conversations and a relationships developed this week."

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