Loudoun residents of all ages came out to Blend Coffee Bar in Ashburn on Feb. 14 for the second Coffee with the Sheriff of the new year. The Sheriff’s office hosts these events periodically throughout the year to give residents a relaxed, casual environment to get to know their local law enforcement.
“Its a great way to connect with the community at a local level,” Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman said.
Several dozen people came and went over the course of the two hour coffee. One couple talked to a deputy about online harassment. One little boy came with his mother to meet the Sheriff and got his picture taken. A deputy gave him a police badge sticker, and he was all smiles handling a pair of handcuffs.
Chapman said the coffees give county residents an informal opportunity to mingle with him and his deputies, give compliments and share concerns. The largest concern residents share with him at these events are about traffic, and most compliments are about deputies’ professional behavior on the job, he said.
“I hear how the deputies are able to calm down a situation and I take great pride in that,” Chapman said.
He said compliments like that show the Crisis Intervention and communication trainings deputies receive are working in helping deputies serve the community to the best of their ability. Chapman also referenced a University of Virginia study that shows Loudoun has the lowest crime rate in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, and that 90 percent of county residents feel safe in their home.
“That’s a real credit to the deputies,” Chapman said.
Blend Coffee Bar, located at 4310 Southern Walk Plaza in Ashburn, opened in October 2015 by owners Mimi Backhausen and Tracey Powell. Both are Broadlands residents and wanted to open a place with good coffee and plenty of space to socialize, Backhausen said. This is Blend’s second time hosting Coffee with the Sheriff. Backhausen said she enjoys taking the opportunity to put a face to a name and get to know the deputies that regularly patrol the area.
“Customers enjoy meeting deputies here, where they usually wouldn’t. It’s a great way to interact,” Backhausen said. She said she particularly liked talking with deputies about their backgrounds.
The last Coffee with the Sheriff event of the quarter will be 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 17 at the Starbucks located at 1101 Edwards Ferry Rd. in Leesburg.