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McDonald’s hosts 2nd ‘Coffee with a Cop’ event

THE possible impact of marijuana legalization, driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, policing concerns and other public safety issues were discussed during the 2nd McDonald’s Coffee with a Cop event, Thursday.

“We gave the community an opportunity to meet with police and other law enforcement officers on a one-on-one basis,” said May Ayuyu, executive assistant to the president of McDonald’s Saipan.

Click to enlarge
Department of Public safety officers wave to commuters, inviting them to have a cup of coffee with them at McDonald’s Middle Road, Thursday morning.
Rep. Edwin Propst gestures as he talks with two DPS officials.
Former Education Commissioner Rita A. Sablan talks with police officers.
In photo are Marcie Ayuyu and May Ayuyu of McDonald’s Saipan, former Education Commissioner Rita Sablan, CPA ports police director Juan Dela Cruz, Rep. Larry Deleon Guerrero and a law enforcement officer.  Photos by Bryan Manabat

“We want those in the community to know that they can approach a cop, ask questions and share their concerns too,” she added.

“Coffee with a Cop” is a McDonald’s national program.

“This is the second time that we’ve done it on Saipan, and we are excited about offering the community a chance to get to know our cops and other law enforcement officers,” Ayuyu said. The first event was held in Nov. 2017.

For the second  “Coffee with a Cop” event, she added, they also invited the Commonwealth Ports Authority police, CNMI Customs, and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers to participate in the event.

She said they may include military personnel and veterans in future programs.

Rep. Edwin Propst said the chance to talk to police and other law enforcement officers on a personal level is beneficial to the community.

“We get to see them not when they are responding to emergencies but in a social setting, and  we are able to talk to them, ask questions and learn something of the stresses, the highs and lows of their jobs.”

Propst said he has learned about issues important to police officers by exchanging ideas with them and listening to them.

“I learned, for example, that if we do legalize marijuana, we have to think of the overall financial impact it will have on  the CNMI. For every motorist pulled over and under suspicion of being under the influence of drugs, the cost is $113 per test.  Multiply that by hundreds or thousands and that’s the potential impact. It’s something I learned today.”

Former Education Commissioner Rita A. Sablan, the running-mate of independent gubernatorial candidate Juan N. Babauta, said the legalization of marijuana should be considered carefully.

“I have six grandchildren, so I have to be concerned about how that is going to work out,” she added.

As for having a conversation with police officers over coffee, Sablan said it was a wonderful opportunity.

“The officers are very open when discussing the things they do out there and the challenges they face in their department.”

She thanked McDonald’s for making the event possible and for allowing law enforcement officers to meet with community members in a different setting.

Rep. Larry Deleon Guerrero also thanked the owners of McDonald’s Saipan for showing appreciation to the police officers.

“Without our law enforcers there would be no peace or safety on island,” he added.