CRESTVIEW — Willis Eastridge says it’s time for positive news in the Hub City.
"Crestview has been through a lot ... I would like to see a good change for this city,” he said.
Coffee with a Cop, a series of informal meetings between Crestview Police Department officers and the public, which began Wednesday, is a step in the right direction, Eastridge said.
The meetings are among ideas to help regain the community’s trust after details of former Maj. Joseph Floyd’s actions became known during his recent racketeering trial.
Residents socialized with Crestview police officers over a cup of coffee on Wednesday morning at the Tropical Palm restaurant — a first for the department, Officer John Cook said, in his 13-year career.
"This is a great environment (in which) to do this, where we can come over and break bread with people," Cook said. "This just gives us a chance to interact with the public and gives them the opportunity to ask us specific questions about what is going on with our department."
Despite the Floyd case, Debbie McGraw — who attended the gathering with her 14-year-old daughters, Abigail and Bethany — said she appreciates the CPD.
"I have always been pleased with the Crestview Police department," McGraw said. "When we have needed police, they have always responded and are always behaved well."
As for Eastridge, he praised Police Chief Tony Taylor’s efforts.
"I think this is a good thing, I respect the fact that Chief Taylor is doing this," he said.
The police department’s efforts to field the public’s feedback also encouraged Debbie Campbell.
"I think (Taylor) is doing the right thing by getting all of these opinions here," she said.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.