MIDLOTHIAN

Officers in blue and local businesses will join together next week for a free community program brought together by the Midlothian Police Department and Chamber of Commerce.

The quarterly series titled “Breakfast with the Blue” aims to educate community and business leaders on safety awareness and what to do in emergency situations. The first breakfast will be at 8 a.m. Tuesday at the Midlothian Conference Center at 1 Community Circle Drive and will focus on personal safety and security for local retailers.

Police Chief Carl Smith said he and Chamber of Commerce President Cammy Jackson started something similar several years ago when they worked for Desoto and held a brown bag lunch with local business leaders. Smith said they wanted to bring a similar community event to Midlothian and help business owners make their communities safer.

“We had a pretty robust outreach program there,” Smith recalled. “We’ve wanted to do this for a while, but we’ve just now grown to a number of officers where we can invest full time in community outreach.”

When speaking with residents in Desoto, Smith recalled how some retailers would avoid interacting with law enforcement due to mistrust of the police. Smith said he wanted to break down those barriers some people might have for police officers.

“So many people hold police officers at arm's length because they don’t know one or they had a bad experience,” Smith elaborated. “Opening up our organization to be as transparent as possible and creating new relationships when it’s not an enforcement situation always plays to our advantage.”

According to the Facebook event page, 115 people are interested in the first Breakfast with the Blue event, and 25 are currently RVSP’d to attend. While Jackson believes 30 to 40 people will come out to the first breakfast, she said she expects attendance to increase as they continue to develop the program.

“People don’t necessarily want to pick up the phone and call the police,” Jackson expressed. “They don’t know whether this is something they should call about. Now they’re going to feel like they have a relationship with the police department through the officers that are going to teach these seminars.”

For their first seminar, Smith said Primary Outreach Officer Scott Hughes will talk about general safety, as well as some crime prevention strategies retailers can employ. The Dec. 11 breakfast will host officer Tim Hicks walking through an active shooter event. Jackson said Caroline’s Country Café will provide catering and the menu will consist of eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, biscuits and gravy.

“Not a low-carb diet,” Smith remarked.

To RVSP, register online at www.midlothianchamber.org or call 972-723-8600.

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David Dunn, @DavidDunnInTX

469-517-1456