BEMIDJI -- As something near and dear to their own hearts, a crew of local law enforcement officers knew the gift of coffee and donuts would be clear path to friendship with the army of sleep-deprived college students on campus.
The Bemidji State Department of Public Safety hosted the seventh annual “Breakfast with the Cops” on Wednesday, allowing students to meet with officers from a number of local agencies in an informal setting. The event included representatives from the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office, the Bemidji Police Department, the Minnesota State Patrol and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Sheriff Ernie Beitel said the annual event is an opportunity to have positive interaction with the new students from the university in a non-threatening environment. Minnesota State Patrol Lieutenant Brad Norland reiterated that sentiment.
“We want people to actually be able to approach us,” Norland said.
And as a crew of individuals who strategize and analyze for a living, the officers left nothing up to chance. They set up shop in Centennial Plaza, a common crossroads for students where the morning air could waft the smell of pastries to students and professors still stuck in the doldrums of midweek class.
“We get the traffic cones out here and direct them in right past there -- just like at a crash,” Beitel joked while referencing the table of sweets.
They even planned for contingencies, with a few gluten-free options, as well.
And, at the end of the day, their efforts paid off as a stream of students meandered through the line to get a morning jolt of caffeine. BSU professor of Accountancy Bill Joyce, who also teaches a fraud examination course, brought a whole class of accounting students down to briefly meet with the officers.
“I saw you down here, so I brought the whole class,” Joyce told a couple of the officers at the event.