Chat with Echuca cops over coffee

By Ivy Jensen

ECHUCA and district residents are encouraged to have a chat to local police over coffee next month.

About six officers will be at Beechworth Bakery from 10.30 am on February 4 to discuss community issues, build relationships and drink coffee.

And they're hoping for as much community engagement as possible.

“Beechworth Bakery will provide free tea and coffee and the idea of it is just to have a bit of an informal chat with the local community members,” Echuca's Sergeant Paul Gordon said.

“If they have any issues or concerns they want to raise it's a good opportunity to do that. Or if they just want to have a general conversation, then that can lead into other issues. It's just a good way to meet your local members and get to know them face to face.”

Sgt Gordon is a Kyabram resident; he started working at Echuca in November after seven years in Shepparton.

“I wanted a change of scenery and it was a career opportunity,” he said.

“It's quite different to what I'm used to. In Shepparton we deal with a lot more seasonal workers whereas Echuca has more of a tourism industry.

“We had a lot of work over the Christmas period with the increase in population, and with the upcoming Southern 80 we are busy with preparation work.”

Straight out of the police academy, Constable Daniel Old will also use the session to introduce himself to the public and discuss any issues people might have.

“I'm looking forward to speaking to locals and finding out what is on their minds,” he said.

The 36-year-old, who started policing in October, was an electrician before opting for a career change.

“It's something I've always wanted to try,” he said.

“It's been really good so far, a real eye-opener.”

Constable Stephanie Iskra, 25, has been stationed at Echuca since May last year after graduating from the academy 18 months ago.

“I started in Bacchus Marsh and then went to Caroline Springs,” she said.

“I love it here. It's got a bit of everything and it's very community focused which I prefer. I'm more of a people person.

“There's a side to me that has always wanted to help people, and policing offers that and lots of variety.

“I deal with everyone from young kids to the elderly and every day is different. I come into work and never know what's going to happen.”

Coffee with a Cop provides an opportunity for community members to ask questions and learn more about the police work occurring in Echuca in an informal setting.

For information, phone the station on 5483 1500.