Residents of Fort Smith got a chance recently to pick the brains of RCMP members and they got to drink coffee as well.
Members of the Fort Smith detachment were at Javapunks, the coffee shop located at the NSixty Trading Company, to take part in what’s known as Coffee With A Cop on March 12. Residents were invited to sit down and talk about whatever they wanted with a Mountie for part of the afternoon.
Sgt. Cagri Yilmaz, the detachment commander with Fort Smith RCMP, said this was a member-driven initiative through Const. Jesse Woodward, who arrived in Fort Smith in July 2022 right out of Depot, the RCMP’s training facility in Regina.
“We always encourage our members to get out and volunteer their time in the community that they serve and this was a great idea,” Yilmaz said. “I did something like this when I was posted in Fort Providence — I arrived here (in Fort Smith) last August — and when I heard about this, I was absolutely supportive of the idea.”
Not all members of the detachment were on hand as some were helping with the set-up of the Wood Buffalo Frolics, he added, but the feedback that was received was excellent.
“People were walking in and sitting down and they could talk about anything: sports, fashion, your favourite food to eat — it didn’t matter,” said Yilmaz. “From what I was told, more people came in than what was expected. A coffee shop is a perfect place for something like this because it’s a casual atmosphere.”
One of those talks even resulted in a possible career choice for one person, Yilmaz added.
“There was one gentleman who was interested in possibly becoming a member of the RCMP,” he said. “He returned shortly after that day and started asking questions about what it would take.”
Yilmaz said this probably won’t be a monthly event, but it’s something he would like to have happen again.
“We had the support of the (shop) owners to host this and I would like to see it happen, maybe, twice per year,” he said. “Events like this are a great way to build trust with the community because this is a small town. People know who and where we are and we want to be a part of the community.”