Fast becoming a tradition, Coffee with a Cop presented once more a prime opportunity for Imperial County to get to know the men and women behind the badge on August 21.
School Resource Officer Ana Amaya at Coffee with a Cop in Brawley, August 21.
Photo Credit: William Roller
Brownies Dinner offered their venue for co-hosts, Brawley Police Department and Area Agency on Aging to network with local residents who had the chance to better acquaint themselves with law enforcement officials.
Recently hired Chief of Police Robert Sawyer remarked on the abundance of camaraderie among Brawley citizens. Sawyer's first day on the job was June 25 when he succeeded interim Police Chief Kelly Brown who had taken over for former Police Chief Michael Crankshaw upon his retirement in May 2017.
"Brawley is very opening and welcoming and made the transition easy," said Sawyer. "We have great business leaders such as Brownies' management who welcomed the police department as community partners.
Sedalia Sanders, Charr AAA Advisory Council and City Council Member Sam Couchman at Coffee with a Cop in Brawley.
I'm very pleased to be a part of this police department and know there’s strong support from the city council."
Co-host Rosie Blankenship, Imperial County Public Administrator and AAA director was thankful for the opportunity to serve as a liaison between seniors and police department personnel.
"We want residents to connect with the individuals of the police department in case they have a loved one who may have Alzheimer's (disease) and who are prone to wander so then they know who to contact," she said.
Brawley Mayor George Nava noted the city's first responders could always use more resources and the city is still submitting bids for federal grants yet funding submittals can be competitive.
Cmdr. Brett Houser with Rosie Blankenship, Imperial County AAA director at Coffee with a Cop.
"It's important the community engages with the police so they feel comfortable approaching law enforcement," said Nava. "Our new police chief brings a wealth of experience and confident leadership. Brawley is glad to welcome him aboard."
Added Council Member Sam Couchman, it is not just a matter of crime but police serve in a variety of capacities, medical emergencies as well as assisting at events such as the Farmer's Markets and Cattle Call.
"People stop me in the street and make positive comments about their interaction with our police department," said Couchman. "You don't necessarily always see them but you know you can always count on the Brawley Police Department."
Brawley Police Commander Brett Houser also touted the value of community policing as more neighborhood watches are forming.
Chief of Police Robert Sawyer speaking to those in attendance at the Coffee with a Cop in Brawley, August 21.
"The cool part is they are using tech tools to enhance neighborhood watches through Facebook groups tracking suspicious activity," said Houser. "This is an opportunity to build community connections. The challenge is, how does the Brawley Police Department best assist these efforts to support community building initiatives? But we are brainstorming a successful model."
And the police contribute in other aspects. School Resource Officer Ana Amaya remarked part of her job is
to intervene before teen issues become problems by meeting with teachers and counselors to mediate to avoid
any sort of confrontations.
"I'll also help out with home issues and try to figure out a way to resolve problems that can manifest itself at school," said Amaya. "We'll make referrals to the Family Resources Center, who can help out with housing, utility bills and even parenting classes. Yesterday was the first day of school (Brawley Union High School) and kids are still trying to figure things out. But I think it'll be a good year."