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Georgiana residents enjoy sit-down with local officers

Georgiana residents got an opportunity to share coffee (and doughnuts, of course) with a cop Saturday morning as part of a new initiative to promote unity throughout the town.

Though cops and doughnuts have gone hand-in-hand since time immemorial, Georgiana police chief Carlton Cook thought it would perhaps be best to turn the trope on its head and break bread with the community that he and the other officers serve.

The site for the Saturday morning hangout was Friendly G’s, which was as popular a hangout spot as any, according to Cook.

“It was a new idea of mine to try to bridge the gap among the police department, businesses and the community as a whole,” Cook said.

“A lot of people travel throughout the weekend to these different businesses, and it’s a good way of having socialization time to be able to communicate with each other over a simple cup of coffee and a doughnut. 

“Though… I wouldn’t say that eating doughnuts is just for police officers,” he added with a laugh. “It was an inexpensive way to build relationships and to have an open dialog.”

The goal Saturday morning was to pick the collective brain of the Georgiana community for feedback regarding what the department could improve upon or do differently to better serve its residents.

Though Cook didn’t exactly get the sort of feedback he was looking for, it was difficult to complain about what he so frequently heard Saturday morning.

“They only praised the idea, and they thought it was very new to the city of Georgiana, and they thanked me for doing this,” he said.

“I was looking to hear some complaints, but I didn’t get any.  I only got praise for doing the things we’re trying to do for Georgiana.”

Saturday’s event was one of several that the police department and other Georgiana-based organizations have put on to strengthen the sense of unity among the various facets of the city.

The largest effort thus far was perhaps Kids, Cops, Ministers and Teachers Day, which further underscored a sense of unity among the school system and various first responders.

Cook said that there was a simple explanation for the recurring theme among all of Georgiana’s recent events.

“The goal is to build trust, and allowing officers to be transparent with the community and developing a stronger sense of unity between the police department and the community,” he said.

“We don’t want people to feel like it’s an us-against-them mentality.  We want to be approachable and we want to be fair, but we want to be persistent as far as enforcing the law throughout the city of Georgiana.

“It’s a small community, so we’ve got to have transparency, trust and unity.  We want people to know that if they do have concerns, they can voice those concerns to the officers and something will be done about it. And we want them to feel the same way about the police chief.  I’m approachable, I have an open ear for the community and my concern is to serve and protect, and to do what’s best for the community of Georgiana.”