MACUNGIE POLICE DEPARTMENT
When they raised their right hands and swore to “serve and protect,” four Macungie Police Department officers probably did not have in mind that oath would include helping to pour coffee and clear tables for an overflow crowd at the Bear Swamp Diner, along East Main St. in Macungie at a Coffee with a Cop community outreach event Dec. 16.
Officers Todd Bernhard, Kyle Bernhard, Anthony Campanell and Richton Penn donned aprons and pitched in to aid the wait staff overwhelmed with the response to the police event and a visit from Santa E. Claus, of Lower Macungie. The diner was packed with adults, youngsters and extended families caught up in the spirit of the season.
One patron offered his coffee cup for a fill-up and said he was a little startled to see the waiter with a handgun on his hip. Shifting his gaze upward, though, he saw the badge on the officer’s polo shirt and a smile offered up with the java, and felt he was in the safest place in town.
The occasion was the opportunity to have Coffee with a Cop at a community event being duplicated in small towns and large across the country.
Officer Kyle Bernhard said the opportunity for the officers to interact with members of the community was “invaluable” and helped create bonds that would be difficult to do during regular patrol duties. Officers particularly took time to chat with youngsters and create the impression “police officers are your friends.”
Dawn Byrd, of Macungie, was thrilled Officer Todd Bernhard took the time to bend down and get “eye-to-eye” with her young son Christopher Jurkiewicz Jr. “My little guy just loves cops and fire engines,” she said, indicating the interaction would stay with the youngster for a long time. Dad, Christopher Sr., said he enjoyed the attention also, indicating to an East Penn Press photographer he had been a Press newspaper carrier early in the 2000s.
Santa also drew a lot of attention, but he didn’t serve coffee.