DART Police Lieutenant D. Hyder likes his coffee black with a little sugar.
As the rain poured Friday morning, Hyder and other DART Police officers filled the McDonald’s on Grand Avenue near Fair Park talking to locals, sharing stories and connecting over cups of coffee as part of the nation’s first National Coffee with a Cop Day.
The McDonald’s on Grand Avenue was just one of the six locations where people met with DART officers.
From 7-10 a.m., people visited restaurants and cafes in Dallas, Farmers Branch, Richardson and Rowlett and took the opportunity to sit down, chitchat and drink a cup of coffee with a DART Police officer in their community.
The day created an understanding about DART Police and its profession and signified how to bridge gaps between communities and the police that serve them. Having conversations created personal connections and showed people that police officers are real people, Hyder said.
Inside the McDonald’s, Dallas resident, Ralph Jenkins sat among his friends at a table for four. He visited with Hyder and talked with him about the relationship between law enforcement and communities as a spiritual matter.
“His job is like a ministry – keeping the peace and trying to do the right thing,” Jenkins said about Hyder. “What I got from him is that his head is in the right place.”
Six miles away, inside Norma’s Café on West Davis Street, DART Police Lieutenant R. Lindsey talked with people about high school and college football and whether the Texas Rangers can bounce back from their defeat from the previous day.
He also listened as residents voiced their opinions about the condition of the nation in light of the July shooting in Dallas and recent events with citizens and police from across country.
Lindsey said the event helped replace the disconnect between the public and law enforcement with a personal connection.
“This is what community policing is,” Lindsey said. “It allows you to know who I am. I am your police officer and you are my citizen.”