ENCINITAS — Encinitas Sheriff’s Capt. John Maryon stood face-to-face with David Cain in between rows of seats at a McDonald’s restaurant. Behind them, aromatic steam rose from a freshly brewed pot of coffee.
Cain explained to Maryon that he was a victim of a recent car theft, and he was grateful for the Sheriff’s Department’s swift investigation and resolution of the incident that resulted in the return of his vehicle and the suspect’s arrest.
“I just wanted to thank you for everything you do, for me and the community,” Cain said to Maryon, who donned his sheriff’s uniform emblazoned with a pink Sheriff’s Department shield in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. “I’m going to grab a cookie and go.”
Dozens of conversations like this played out the morning of Oct. 4, as the Sheriff’s Department hosted “Coffee with a Cop,” an event in connection with the “National Coffee with a Cop Day.”
The event and day are aimed at opening up the lines of communication between the public and its law enforcement officials in an informal setting — over a cup of Joe.
“One of the missions of the department is to form partnerships with the community,” Maryon said. “We can’t do our job without the public’s help and getting with them and speaking with them about what their issues are.”
Maryon said that he and deputies that morning learned about a number of incidents they wouldn’t have otherwise known about, including issues with homeless in locations they weren’t aware of.
“People don’t call, and they build up these frustrations and get upset and say that nothing is getting done,” Maryon said. “But you have to tell us. We depend on the public as much as they depend on us.”
Michael Ortiz, a director of operations with McDonald’s, said that this was the third such collaboration between the Town Center location and the Sheriff’s Department. This one, however, was the best attended.
“People started showing up around 8, and it got really busy around 8:30 a.m.,” Ortiz said. “It’s a great opportunity for everyone to have a chance to meet with their local sheriffs and we look forward to hosting more.”
Encinitas resident Shana Norell said she came to the event to learn more about home solicitation laws and concern about a neighbor. She praised the Sheriff’s Department for being willing to listen to her and other residents’ issues.
“I think this is great, all of them were very receptive and I’m all for it,” Norell said. “Police shouldn’t be considered the enemy. I consider them protectors, at least 99 percent of them.”