Memphians sit down for cup of Joe with MPD officers

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Police Department and more than two dozen area businesses took part in the first National Coffee with a Cop Day Friday to help improve community relationships.

Police Director Michael Rallings made the rounds of some McDonalds Friday morning to shake hands and talk one-on-one with residents.

Officers were also at Starbucks downtown, Kroger stores and the Original Donut Man.

Many were surprised to see so many officers at  their regular breakfast stops but glad for the chance to sit down with men and women in blue.

"Especially with what is going on around all across the nation. Get to know them and they get to know you," said Steven Turnage.

The first Coffee with a Cop program was started in 2011 by the Hawthorne, California, Police Department, and the Justice Department decided to expand it nationally.

Rallings hopes to hold similar events throughout the year.

Today, police also passed out important crime prevention information and did a little recruiting.

"We talk about all the unrest and protests, and I tell people you really want to make a difference you are going to have a more positive influence inside of an organization than outside," said  Rallings.

Rallings said community-oriented policing and strengthening the bond between officers and the citizens of Memphis is paramount to moving the city forward.