additional reporting by Emily Ettie and Drew Gumins

On Thursday, June 3, from 8-10 a.m. at Dunkin Donuts, the Wilton Police Department sponsored a “Coffee with a Cop” event, where local residents had the opportunity to meet local police officers in an informal environment.

Police officers were scattered intermittently around the store, smiling with children, joking with their colleagues, chatting with Wiltonians, and handing out coupons for free coffees. The mood at Dunkin Donuts was friendly and open, the ambiance inviting, with community members asking questions, sharing stories or merely saying “thank you” to their local police officers.

The police force also had the good luck of conducting their event on National Donut Day, when Dunkin Donuts gave out free Donuts with any drink order, a move officers insisted was a coincidence.

“We had no idea,” said Officer Timothy Fridinger, “we picked this day a month ago!” Nonetheless, the store was crowded with people, many of whom, whether they came for the donuts or the conversation, had the opportunity to meet some of the police officers who patrol Wilton.

“I think it was a great event, especially in light of how people are feeling about police officers recently,” said Chief Robert Crosby, “it was nice for the public to actually get to meet us…I am extremely happy that people get the chance to meet us and see us on a one-to-one basis.”  

Officer Michael Tyler added, “It should be pointed out too that we do this on an everyday basis too, you can walk into any deli in town and this is one of those towns where if you walk up to a cop, they will talk to you and have a conversation with you.”

And the police officers were very grateful to witness so much appreciation from residents. Chief Crosby mentioned, “I’ve also been hearing a lot more positive, ‘we appreciate everything you do for us’ type thing. And I don’t think people are saying it enough to police officers and they are coming up and saying that to us. Which is really nice to hear.”

“I wanted to mention how much we like seeing their presence in town, seeing that they are controlling things,” said one Wilton resident, Pam Nobumoto, “it’s such a good community here and I’m really happy with everything the police force does in town.”

Nobumoto also had the opportunity to have some of her questions answered about her soon-to-be driving son: “I wanted to touch base with them about the craziness of Rt. 7 , I mean making that left coming out of Skunk [Pimpewaug by Gregory’s Sawmill] is really busy and ask where we should practice driving.”

Conversation topics raised by residents included issues ranging from body cameras to specifics of Wilton traffic laws. Another resident voiced concerns about the texting and driving that he witnessed while walking along Wilton roads.

Interns Margaret Collias and Emily Ettie got a chance to talk in depth with Officer Anna Tornello about their concerns about how to safely pull over for a police officer when required. She comforted their fears, assuring them that the officer always makes sure that safety is maintained when conducting a traffic stop.

Officers Fiddinger and Tornello also mentioned how great it was seeing so many children at the event, as an opportunity to familiarize younger kids with their police officers, as trusted members of the community.

“We’ve been handing out stickers,” said Officer Tornello, “I just ran out!”

One 4-year-old Wilton resident, Nicholas Collias, mentioned that he loved seeing the police officers, “I like how they rescue people,” he enthused, beaming.   

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