Olney chamber launches ‘Coffee with a Cop’ -- Gazette.Net


The day before a local bank was robbed, Lt. Marc Yamada, deputy commander of Montgomery County Police Fourth District, told residents and business owners that the number of commerical robberies in Olney was low.

He could only recall one incident in recent years — a robbery at Dunkin’ Donuts in 2011 that was later determined to be an inside job.

The next day, a 29-year-old Olney man was arrested and charged with robbing the Capital One bank at 18104 Town Center Drive.

Yamada said he “jinxed” himself with that statement, but was happy an arrest has been made in the case.

Yamada and Community Service Officer Sharif Hidayat chatted with about a dozen people during the Olney Chamber of Commerce’s first “Coffee with a Cop,” an informal event Feb. 19 at the Olney Bagel Bakery.

Olney is part of the county’s Fourth Police District, which Yamada said is the busiest of the six districts in call volume. It stretches from Sunshine down to Wheaton, and includes six high schools, a central business district, two Metro stations, and the Westfield Wheaton shopping center.

The Coffee with a Cop session included talk about the most prevalent crimes in Olney (thefts from autos and garages, the majority left unlocked), officer recruitment and allocation, school resource officers, the Olney satellite station and drugs.

Larica Kintchen, who works with Cornerstone Montgomery in Wheaton, listened to and chatted with the officers.

“I really enjoyed this,” she said. “It’s not every day you get to hear police talk about the prevalent issues. It was very informative.”

“I thought the meeting was mutually beneficial,” Yamada said. “The questions were very relevant and provide the police with insight on the issues the community feels are important to them. This is the only community where I have participated in this type of info sharing. However, I am sure that they occur in some form in the other districts as well.”

Yamada said he and Jon Hulsizer, the chamber’s executive director, have already agreed to continue offering these meetings.

“The Olney community, in particular, shows the police department an overwhelming amount of support,” Yamada said, “in large part due to the relationships we have built over the years at meetings like this.”

About a dozen people attended — mostly local business owners, Olney area residents and a couple who live at Leisure World.

“I was really pleased with the way it all went,” Hulsizer said. “I thought Marc [Yamada] did a great job reviewing their organization, coverage area and typical issues. I know I learned some new stuff, and have a much better appreciation for the challenges they face on a daily basis.”

Olney Bagel Bakery donated $100 to the satellite police station. Those in attendance donated $60 more.

The chamber has coordinated funding for the facility, in front of the Giant Food at 17821 Georgia Ave., since it opened in 1997.

Hulsizer said his goal is to try again, maybe in eight to 10 weeks, and to have a future program geared to students.

“Ultimately, the real value is building a relationship between law enforcement and community where both recognize each others value,” he said.