McDonald's customers in Columbus got the chance to mingle and chat with Columbus Chief of Police Charles Sherer when he visited the fast food joint on Wednesday.
The visit was a part of National Coffee with a Cop Day, an initiative started by the Hawthorne Police Department in California in 2011 that is celebrated nationally the first Wednesday every October. The idea was to create an event that would allow for city police and citizens to interact with one another.
The program is currently hosted by Coffee with a Cop Inc., a California nonprofit corporation comprised of current and retired officers from the Hawthorne Police Department. The event is put on throughout coffee shops across the United States and in 14 different countries.
At McDonald's, 3210 23rd St., the chief walked up to various customers to check in with them.
“Since I am a new chief, I thought it was important for me to come out here, meet with the public, mingle, find out their concerns, see their likes, their dislikes, what their thoughts are on what we’re doing,” Sherer said. “You can’t give them what they want if you don’t know what they’re looking for.”
The officer approached every table, but some customers like Jan Schulenberg walked up to him on their own volition.
“With him (Sherer), (I) know if I see him on the street anyway, that I can just talk to him,” she said. “I’m pleased with what the officers have done around here and everything.”
Lureta Dierberger was another one of the patrons at the McDonald's that morning. She was sitting at a table working on a puzzle inside a newspaper.
“I come (here) every day and sit in this corner, and as people are moving around I visit with them. He (Sherer) hasn’t gone over here yet, and maybe he won’t, I don’t know,” Dierberger said.
When asked if she wanted Sherer to visit her table and chat with her, she said "no" as she had a busy day ahead of her.
“No reason (why), I want to get my puzzle finished," she said. "Today is social security day. I got to go pay my bills.”
Macy Augustine, an employee at McDonald's, said she appreciated the chief's visit to the restaurant.
“It’s pretty awesome,” she said.
Sherer said his goal of participating in the event was to show the public that he and the rest of the city police were approachable.
“I’ve been doing this 40 years, and one of the things I want to stay away from is a big-city attitude,” he said. “What I’m hoping to get out of this, and what I’m hoping they get out of me is to see that I’m approachable. So if they have a concern, they can come talk to me.”
Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.