Typically we see police officers in action – at a crash, fire, handling a domestic or making a drunk driving arrest.

They’re enforcing laws and protecting the public. That’s their job.

Beyond contacts for such emergencies or emotionally charged situations, people seldom get the chance to talk casually with officers.

River Falls police are taking a small step to broaden that connection by starting monthly sessions called Coffee With a Cop.

The first one is 8 a.m. Friday, July 26, at Family Fresh, 303 S. Main St., in the supermarket’s corner café.

Coffee with a Cop is a trend that’s being tried elsewhere.

River Falls Patrol officer Ryan Miller read about it in a police magazine, He proposed the idea to Chief Roger Leque who eagerly accepted it.

Both will be at the first July 26 Coffee With a Cop at Family Fresh.

“I am excited to be part of this event,” Miller said. “I hope to get to know members of our community a little better and hope they get to know me.”

Said Leque: “Aside from the routine of daily calls, we’re always looking for opportunities for our staff to get involved with the community, to make ourselves available and approachable. It breaks down barriers.”

Leque and Miller say the settings to mingle are ideal because many groups gather around town for morning coffee.

Coffee With a Cop is strictly informal. While Miller will be in uniform, he will circulate from table to table, greet those who show up, perhaps sit with patrons, chat and answer questions, respond to concerns.

For more on this story, please see the July 11 print edition of the River Falls Journal.