'Coffee With A Cop' connects officers with Katy area residents

- The safest place to be in the Katy area Wednesday morning was at the Whataburger restaurant on Fry Road. That's where about 30 sheriff's deputies gathered with residents for "Coffee with a Cop."

"We started doing 'Coffee with a Cop' actually last year with the sheriff's office," says Sgt. Jacqueline Fortune.

She says 'Coffee with Cop' is a national program, coming to Katy for the very first time.

"I'm excited that we had the opportunity to come here and meet the upper officers," said one resident who joined the gathering.

Nearly 30 members of the Harris County Sheriff's Department spent their morning answering questions and offering advice. Open carry was one of the topics.

"I learned a lot of really good information about that," said Katy resident Nina Palmer. "What I should do as a citizen if i see that happening. Be a little more observant, and what phone numbers to call."

The sheriff's department says residents can call 911 if they are very concerned, but the non-emergency number to keep handy is 713-221-6000. You'll be able to speak to one of the sheriff's department's communications officers.

"They'll ask certain questions and determine if there's a need to come out," says HCSO's Lt. Michael Miller. "They'll be trying to assess "if there's a reasonable suspicion that they need to send an officer out there to investigate further."

Many of the citizens who came out for the event represented neighborhoods, and were encouraged to attend the citizens police academy.

Sgt Keith Hall says it's a mini academy that covers a host of topics.

"It enlightens them on how, when they see stuff on the news, they'll see from our end how we view things," Hall says. "They'll get an idea of how we think." (The next Citizen's Police Academy starts March 3. The class meets one night per week for 13 weeks. For more information call 713-759-9454.)

Residents say they love these events and want more of them. Jerri McCall, showing her support for the officers with earrings that looked like handcuffs, says she's worked with the sheriff's department on many occasions.

"Any time I have a problem, or anytime I need something, like setting up for National Night Out, or any event that I'm having, they have been there to help me," McCall says.

"We're actually having a good time meeting our citizens and enjoying their company," Sgt. Fortune says. "Most of all, we're letting everyone know in the community, that we do appreciate them, because they do support us wholeheartedly in this area."

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