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Lathrop Police chief plans K9 demo at community coffee
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When Lathrop Police Chief Ryan Biedermann shows up at Starbucks next month for a “Coffee With A Cop” event, he’ll do the same thing he always does – talk to residents about their issues and work to build a relationship that is beneficial for both police and the citizens they serve.

But there’s an extra twist to throw this time around – a K9 demonstration showcasing the agility of the working police dogs and the precision at which they operate with their handlers.

“I love showing off our dogs any chance I get – it’s a chance for the public to get to know our dogs and the capability of our dogs,” said Biedermann, himself a former K9 handler. “A lot of people don’t know what they can do until they actually see it.

“The control they have, the abilities of the animals – plus, everybody loves dogs.”

The event is part of a larger national effort between law enforcement agencies to bridge the gap between themselves and the public they serve by meeting on neutral ground and discussing the pressing matters that residents happen to have.

While it isn’t always possible to forge relationships when responding to calls – the business of the call takes center stage – events like the one that Lathrop is holding next month are a change to that paradigm.

“It takes away the middle-man of having to call dispatch or post something on Facebook, and it’s a chance to meet the officers without having a specific immediate problem to call about,” Biedermann said. “We find it to be beneficial when it comes to building relationships, and we get the chance to meet people we wouldn’t otherwise get to meet – there are a lot of people whose paths we wouldn’t otherwise cross that get the chance to tell us what’s going on with them.”

And the input that comes from gatherings like these, Biedermann said, directly determine where resources are deployed and which issues take precedence.

When it comes to dispatching patrol deputies for traffic enforcement, Biedermann said, it’s community input from events like these and information gathered from social media that tell officers where they need to look, and it gives officers the chance to be aware of things that might not always be on the radar of deputies when they’re out on patrol.

“We get the spectrum of reports when we do this – we might have speeding as an issue in one neighborhood, and break-ins that are happening in another and we get the chance to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth,” he said. “It’s different than calling into dispatch and being told that an officer will be there when they’re free because we can make some of the decisions immediately.

“And it gives the public a perspective on how we deploy our resources and where we’re focusing our energy. It’s beneficial for everybody.”

The upcoming Coffee With A Cop event and K9 demonstration will take place on Wednesday, March 4 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the new Starbucks location at 16858 Golden Valley Parkway.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.