Troopers, local police host ‘community cafe’ at Middletown eatery


Middletown Police Department Sgt. Scott Saunders converses with Kizzie Cobb and Anna Wright at Friday morning’s community cafe hosted by the Delaware State Police. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

MIDDLETOWN — Serious topics discussed in a relaxed setting.

Conversations flowed between police and community members Friday morning with clear interest from everyone involved.

Delaware State Police partnered with the Middletown Police Department to hold a Community Cafe at the Chick-fil-a next to U.S. 301 in the Westown business corridor.

Local residents Anna Wright and Kizzie Cobb didn’t expect any of it when arriving for a friendly breakfast meeting.

“I saw all the police inside and thought, ‘Oh, what is going on?” Ms. Wright said. “Then I saw the sign (with the details) and realized what it was.”

So the friends sat down in a booth with Middletown Police Sgt. Scott Saunders and just started talking. Several minutes later they had a better feeling about local law enforcement.

“There can be such a negative connotation about police from the outside,” Ms. Wright said. “Sitting down with (an officer) and hearing from him in such a positive way changes that perspective.”

The outreach surely benefited local police, too.

“People want to feel safe and secure and they want to hear our perspective on that,” Sgt. Saunders said. “We try to be as transparent as possible about what we’re doing without endangering any investigations.

“We want to share information with the public and have them do the same with us.

“The more input we receive from our citizens, the better we can serve what matters most and directly affects them.”

Each DSP Troop hosts some form of community outreach quarterly, and the best way to do it is an ever-changing venture. Spokesman Master Cpl. Michael Austin said not all events are as well-attended as Middletown’s, and police found that timing is everything — holding an event at 7 a.m. at a convenience store when folks are rushing to work isn’t the way to go, police found.

The Chick-fil-a gathering began at 9 a.m. and would run as long as the chatter continued. Local elected officials were also there for the discourse.
“We’re not going to leave if there are still people who want to talk,” Cpl. Austin said.

On March 6, Troop 7 will host a Community Cafe in Lewes at Surf Bagel located at 17382 Coastal Highway. The event will begin at 8 a.m.

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