HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - On the second Tuesday of each month, one might notice a few Hattiesburg police cars outside a local coffee shop in the Hub City.
No reason to be alarmed, they are enjoying the morning and taking part in "Coffee with Cops" at Java Werks.
"To be able to meet with the public just on a light note situation where citizens could just come in and be able to sit back and relax," Hattiesburg Police Lt. Jon Traxler said. "Officers can also be able to discuss with them their concerns they may have."
This is the second time the department has held the gathering, and it was idea that came about from the new Hattiesburg Police Chief Anthony Parker.
"It's just a way for us to give back, for them to be able to give back to us as well as us to be able to answer their questions, any concerns they may have and things like that," Traxler said.
Members of the community get to ask questions, share concerns and enjoy learning some on-the-job experiences that the officers deal with.
"To have them come in and take the time out to come visit with residents, to hear concerns, to share information that many of us didn't even know, it's real refreshing to see our police officers take the time to do that," Hattiesburg resident and State Rep. Toby Barker said.
Traxler added that this is just one of the ways the department is trying to build trust and be present in the community.
"These kinds of experiences build trust between police officers and residents, and as a resident it is so important that our neighborhoods and our community feel safe," Barker said.
Officers fielded questions concerning numbers in the department, how they respond to calls, as well as generic questions on how things have changed at the department with a new chief on hand.
"We have, I believe, one of the best departments in the country here in Hattiesburg, and these kinds of experiences continue to build that rapport and that relationship and that only works to better our city," Barker said.
"This is one of the things that we are trying to bring back," Traxler said. "It is something that I remember when I first started. Community Oriented Policing, or C.O.P., it's a good way just to see and meet people in the community and show them we aren't only here for the bad."
Mark your calendars, officers will be at Java Werks at 8 a.m. January 12th for another round of "Coffee with Cops".
If you have any questions head over to the Hattiesburg Police Department's Facebook page for updates or changes in the schedule.