The Philomath Police Department held a "Coffee with a Cop" event back on Nov. 8 as a way to connect with the public, in that case, business owners. Police chief Ken Rueben said people are oftentimes more at ease to talk about issues at those types of events.

"People aren't afraid to ask questions when you have those," he said. "I really like them. I think it's a good mechanism (of communication)."

Many law-enforcement agencies around the country have organized "Coffee with a Cop" or similar events. They've become especially important in cities where there has been friction between the public and police.

In Philomath, there may not be any friction but it does represent an opportunity for the public to simply communicate with the chief and his staff.

"We tried the idea of trying one out with business leaders first instead of the public at large," Rueben said. "We sent out invitations to all the business owners in Philomath and we had a turnout of about 45 people that came."

One of the bigger challenges is simply finding a place to meet.

"We hosted it in the city council chambers office," Rueben said, adding that it was a must that a police-related activity include the serving of donuts. "It was informal ... a meet-and-greet, come with your questions on security, business crime. And we just had some really good dialogue. People had a lot of really good questions."

Among the topics discussed was the benefit of having security cameras installed at a business. Rueben said there are quality cameras on the market at more affordable prices. In addition to protecting a business, they can also lead to apprehending criminals.

The event ran from about 7:30 to 10 a.m.

"I want to do it again, want to do it with the public but I need to figure out how to do it," Rueben said, citing a few possibilities on venues, such as the Scout Lodge or a local church. He said he hopes to organize one for early February.