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Coffee with a cop comes to Barrhead

Barrhead RCMP invite public to ‘A Cop and a Coffee’ to chat with law enforcement officials about anything on their mind
The Barrhead RCMP invite people to "Coffee With A Cop" on March 6 at the Pembina West Co-op food store cafe.

BARRHEAD - The Barrhead RCMP are inviting the public to have coffee with a cop.

On Wednesday, March 6, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Pembina West Co-op Food Store, members of the local detachment, along with County of Barrhead's new peace officer, Shae Guy and Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Services officer Danika Wittenberg, will be on hand to answer any questions.

Interim detachment commander Filipe Vicente said the event is part of the detachment's ongoing public engagement efforts, noting that their most recent efforts haven't been as successful as they hoped.

A town hall in Neerlandia and one at the Barrhead Senior Centre a little over a year ago netted less than a dozen people attending, and a more recent virtual town hall in late November attracted under 20 logins.

"We just wanted to give people a chance to sit down in a bit of a more relaxed environment with ourselves, with the [County of Barrhead] peace officer and [Alberta Fish and Wildlife officer] and discuss any concerns or questions they may have or tell us about things they are seeing in the community that they would like us to keep an eye on," Vicente said.

He added people feel intimidated in larger group sessions, and by moving it to an informal setting, like the Co-op Food Store's cafe, he hopes to get more of a dialogue going.

"It is something I've had success in some of the other communities I've worked, and I think it has a chance to be successful here," Vicente said.

He also noted that if successful, he hopes to hold similar events in other venues but in different areas, such as Neerlandia and Fort Assiniboine, where the detachment serves and other locations in Barrhead.

"Different businesses cater to different types of people, and that can invite different conversations," Vicente said. "And it is not just about asking questions and concerns. It allows people to meet the officers, chat and realize that we are real people like everyone else."

Thinking of a career change?

A day earlier (March 5), people interested in a potential career with the RCMP can also meet with a recruiter at the Pembina West Co-op Food Store cafe from 2 to 4 p.m.

Vicente said if anyone is considering a career in law enforcement, now is a perfect time.

He noted the RCMP and other law enforcement agencies across the county are experiencing shortages.

Vicente said a career in law enforcement can be gratifying, adding he and his wife, Const. Karen Vicente, Barrhead's school resource officer, have been with the RCMP for closing in on 15 years.

"It is more than a job or a career," he said. "You end up giving a lot, especially working in a smaller detachment like Barrhead; there is always something happening that impacts your life, whether it is time commitment or otherwise and like any other job, it is not for everyone, but if you have a passion for it, it is very rewarding, and I would recommend to people that it definitely something worth considering."

Barry Kerton,

Barry Kerton

About the Author: Barry Kerton

Barry Kerton is the managing editor of the Barrhead Leader, joining the paper in 2014. He covers news, municipal politics and sports.
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