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Conversation and coffee with Spotsylvania sheriff

BY PORTSIA SMITH

Most people prefer sugar and cream with their coffee, but not Spotsylvania County Sheriff Roger Harris.

He was in favor of smiles and conversation with his cup of joe Tuesday morning.

Harris, along with several members of his staff, were on hand  for his first meet-and-greet event called “Coffee with the Sheriff.”

From 7 to 9 a.m., residents from all over Spotsylvania—and even other counties—came by Chick–fil–A in Southpoint to shake hands with Harris, ask questions and express concerns.

Spotsylvania County Sheriff Roger Harris (left) talks with longtime friend Gary Harris (no relation) during the Coffee with the Sheriff program at the Chik-Fil-A restaurant along Southpoint Parkway on Tuesday

Kathy Kotula, who walks in the Lee’s Hill area, said she is afraid she or someone else will get hurt because many drivers ignore  stop signs. She discussed the issue with Harris with hopes something can be done, like having more patrol units in that area in the morning.

“It’s been on my mind for awhile,” she said. “So I said ‘Let me just get up and ask him.’”

Courtland District resident and Second Amendment advocate Dale Swanson met with Harris to see what his views were on gun control.

“I just wanted to know whether he was going to protect us from this gun uproar,” she said, “if he was going to order us to turn over our guns, and he said no, and that makes me happy.”

Harris, who said he was very impressed with the turnout, said this was a good way to connect with members of the community that he serves and protects.

“Most people don’t want to pick up the phone or send an email, but they will meet you face to face to discuss their problems,” he said. “And not everybody wants to walk in to the sheriff’s office to complain.”

Some of the main issues he said that were mentioned to him Tuesday included traffic concerns, school safety, firearm safety and an increase in graffiti that’s starting to show up in neighborhoods.

There were also pamphlets and other information for residents to take about recognizing scams that target the elderly, pressures facing teenagers, neighborhood watch programs and how to stay digitally connected to the Sheriff’s Office through social networks and email alerts.

Red Rose Village Homeowner’s Association President Kat Higgins said she wanted to stay up on the latest crime prevention steps so she can share them with her members.

“I’ve seen many changes since Sheriff Harris has been here and I wanted to put a face to the name,” she said.

Senior Deputy William Lee of the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office gives a coloring book to Faith Ellis, 4, during the Coffee with the Sheriff program at the Southpoint Parkway Chik-Fil-A restaurant on Tuesday.

Glenn Patterson, who lives in Stafford and has had concerns since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December, took the opportunity to get some feedback from law enforcement on what a regular citizen can legally do if if a gunman begins an attack.

Diana Liller gave kudos to Harris and his staff for doing  something to bring the community together and creating awareness.

“This is exactly what Spotsylvania needs, a sheriff that is accessible and cares about the people,” she said. “He is a plus for the county.”

Paul Jany, owner of the Chick–fil–A store, said he was happy to partner with the Sheriff’s Office for this type of event and offered free coffee to all who attended.

First Sgt. Shaun D. Jones, who coordinated the event, said Harris will host more “Coffee with the Sheriff” events in the future in different locations throughout the county.

“I think it was very successful,” Harris said. “We are striving to educate the public and have the public educate us.”

 

 

Portsia Smith:  540/374-5419

psmith@fredericksburg.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/newsdesk/2013/01/29/conversation-and-coffee-with-spotsylvania-sheriff/

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