ST. ALBANS — We all know the police officer’s creed: “to protect and serve.”

Officers of the St. Albans Police Department (SAPD) provided a delicious spin on that creed Thursday morning, when they served free coffee — and, yes, donuts — in the Catalyst Coffee Bar, on North Main Street.

They call it “Coffee with a Cop.”

It’s not exclusive to the SAPD. Coffee with a Cop is a national outreach program that originated in Hawthorne, Calif. in 2011. The U.S. Department of Justice helped organize, and fund, the first national Coffee with a Cop event in 2016. The final report of President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing highlighted Coffee with a Cop as an effective means to build community support and trust.

The idea is to strengthen the sense of openness and availability between police officers and the citizens they serve — and to do so, in part, by serving coffee.

Thursday’s event began at 9:30 a.m. Several of the SAPD’s day shift officers gathered in Catalyst, near a dispenser of freshly brewed coffee harvested by a farm of exclusively female harvesters in Huila, Colombia.

A plate of donuts, crullers and similar treats prepared by Red House Sweets sat on the other end of the table, well within the officers’ reach. But contrary to the popular stereotype, these police officers avoided any more than a sampling of the treats.

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