Residents from all over the Brandon area had the chance to learn more about local law enforcement officers last month when Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) deputies Breanna Rodriguez and Clifford Fletcher hosted the second Coffee with a Cop event of the year at Moreno Bakery.
The event was organized by Fletcher and Rodriguez, both community resource deputies for Hillsborough County’s Region V working out of the Bloomingdale Substation, to increase HCSO’s interaction with the public and to allow residents a chance to speak with deputies and ask questions in a relaxed environment.
“One of our goals this year is to get out and meet more of our residents, face-to-face,” said Rodriguez, a Valrico resident. “And seeing the wonderful turnout for this event makes us feel that the public feels the same way.”
During the event, residents were also able to meet with Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister who is up for re-election in November.
“Events like this help everyone feel more like part of the community,” said Chronister. “Our goal is to make our residents feel safe and getting to know those of us who are working to protect them can only help that.”
Chronister spoke with community members at the event about issues including check and identity theft and school and gun safety. He also spoke with a student interested in joining the Sheriff’s Office’s next training program.
When asked if there was any particular information he wanted to get out to the public, Chronister emphasized the importance of residents locking their car doors and keeping guns responsibly stored.
“So much of the crime we face in this area is what I call a crime of opportunity,” he said. “Three out of four car burglaries happen because people leave their car doors unlocked and their valuables, including guns, in their cars, often in plain sight. Let’s make it hard on thieves by securing our property.”
Fletcher and Rodriguez plan to continue holding the Coffee with a Cop event at least every quarter at locations throughout the area.
For more information, contact them at the Bloomingdale Substation, located at 3622 Erindale Dr. Between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday-Friday or call 635-8040.