Murphy Police Chief Justin Jacobs presents Skip Sharer, owner of area McDonald’s restaurants, a certificate of appreciation Thursday during Coffee With a Cop.

SCOUTING AROUND: Cops share information during coffee break

    Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to talk your way out of a ticket? John Evans did, and even though he has a perfect driving record, he asked Murphy Police Chief Justin Jacobs and Patrol Officer Clint Wooten about it during the fourth Coffee With a Cop event.
    “It depends,” Wooten answered, adding that attitude plays a big role. He added that the N.C. Highway Patrol will always give tickets.
    Coffee With a Cop is an informal gathering at the Murphy McDonald’s. The public is invited to stop by, have a free coffee and biscuit, and learn from local law enforcement officers. At Thursday’s gathering, the Rev. Alan Wildsmith, chaplain for the sheriff’s office, also was in attendance.
    Topics of discussion included the crime rate, traffic issues and the judicial system. Jacobs also made sure attendees knew the police department has items to keep children safe, like car seats and bicycle helmets, to give to families in need.
    Evans also used the time to publicly praise Jacobs and his department.
    “This guy is a professional,” Evans said. “We have the most outstanding police department.”
    Jacobs said praise is common lately in Murphy.
    “You’d be surprised by how much community support we’ve had since the anti-cop sentiment,” Jacobs said. People have sent officers letters, cookies and cakes.
    “We treat everybody with respect,” he added. “We try to lead by example.”
    Wooten said his favorite part of the job is helping children. In fact, he was just a child when he decided he wanted to be a police officer when he grew up. Wooten enjoys the opportunity to meet and talk with people during Coffee With a Cop.
    “I like for people to know they can come up to us and ask us anything they want,” Wooten said.
    Jacobs hopes to continue having Coffee With a Cop events every month, but he has not scheduled any for the new year yet.
    Jacobs presented Skip Sharer, owner of the Murphy and other area McDonald’s, with a certificate of appreciation Thursday for the restaurant’s support of Coffee With a Cop.
    “McDonald’s is all about community,” Sharer said. “We just feel like it’s important to support these guys.”
    McDonald’s also is providing breakfast for all participants in the Shop With a Cop program Saturday before the officers take children to Walmart to buy gifts. Sharer’s wife, Barbara, is putting together about 80 stockings for the kids.
    “They do a lot for the community that other organizations do not,” Jacobs said.

Lego Club set Friday
    Children ages 5 and older are invited to build during the Lego Club activity at the Murphy Public Library at 4 p.m. Friday. Children will be given timed challenges to build something out of Lego bricks provided by the library. There will be a winter theme to some building challenges.
    “I think Lego Club is a great opportunity for children to be creative and use critical thinking skills,” said Bridget Wilson, the youth services librarian. “If the response continues like the last meeting, we’re going to need a bigger room.”
    For younger siblings, the library also provides Duplo bricks, and Wilson provides a separate area for them to play.
    The Lego Club is held in the library’s meeting room. For details, call Wilson at 837-2025 or the library at 837-2417.
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message at 837-5122.