Hill residents enjoy coffee and chat with police at Poppy's Cafe.

Hill residents enjoy coffee and chat with police at Poppy’s Cafe.

by Kevin Dicciani

Poppy’s Cafe, located in the Market at the Fareway, invited residents to drop by and have “Coffee with a Cop.”

Amanda Yoder, manager of Poppy’s Cafe, organized the event along with Officer Bob Mahan of the 14th District.

“Bob and I thought it would be a good idea with this kind of space and setting we have here to be able to create a movement within the community to give people the opportunity to have an open dialogue with local police officers,” Yoder said.

On Friday, Sept. 5, Officer Mahan and Sergeant Nick Tees made their way around the cafe, speaking to more than a dozen residents and answering their questions.

For Mahan, the event was about one thing: crime prevention.

“It’s important to get as much information as possible to the residents that will deter crime,” Mahan said. “That’s my goal.”

Mahan has been stationed in Chestnut Hill for more than eight months and is in charge of investigating burglaries and robberies. He works with local stores to prevent both from happening, giving storeowners and residents tips on how to spot suspicious behavior and what to do if they come across a threatening situation. He also said that he regularly stops in stores along the Avenue just to see what’s new, which furthers the dialogue and makes him and the police more accessible to the community.

Mahan said crime is down in Chestnut Hill. He attributes it to 14th District Captain John Fleming and the increased police presence, which has quadrupled since Fleming became captain.

Martha Sharkey, executive director of the Chestnut Hill Business District, said the business district tries to work with the police as often as they can. The “Coffee with a Cop” event is just another way for residents and businesses to stay in touch with the police, an important aspect of any community, she said.

“I think this is a great opportunity for our police officers to connect to our community and business owners,” Sharkey said. “It’s important to get the business owners talking to the police so they stay up to date on what’s going on in the neighborhood.”

Dave Doriss, a resident of Chestnut Hill, said he came to the event to “stop in and say hello.”

“I wanted to come so that I could put a face on the police in the neighborhood who protect us,” Doriss said. “We’ve seen more patrols in the area than in the past. It’s a comforting feeling.”

Yoder and Poppy’s Cafe hopes to host “Coffee with a Cop” regularly, potentially every four to six weeks.

“The goal is to foster a trust between residents and the police department,” Yoder said, “to create relationships.”