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Civilians share past and current experiences with police in Coffee with a Cop

By Tara Vocino

Civilians had the opportunity to vent during Coffee with a Cop on Wednesday morning at Market Basket Cafe.

Coffee with a Cop is intended to be a more informal setting where residents can share concerns or ask questions that they may not otherwise have time to share while officers are on patrol.

Former crossing guard Clifford Pisano, who was a guard from 2004 to 2010, was talking to Officer Jerry Salvati about how crossing guards should live closer to the crossing location so that they aren’t late.

“Crossing guards should also be closer to houses to make sure that the kids crossing are safe,” Pisano told Salvati. Pisano estimated that there are about 18 crossing guards in the city.

Officer Youness Elalam was having coffee with Revere resident Marjie Bencivenan and Malden resident Anna Viac.

Elalam was explaining to them that their main job is to help or change someone’s day.

“It’s not always about arresting people,” Elalam said.

Viac shared a negative experience that she had with Everett Police, and Elalam commented on it.

“I was trying to get out of a pizza shop on Broadway the same way that I came in,” Viac said. “But they had just a sign there changing the rule. He didn’t give me a chance to speak and gave me a $400 ticket.”

Viac said she later appealed the ticket in court, and it was dismissed.

Elalam replied that the fewer words exchanged, the better, because in heated traffic stops, things could spiral out-of-control.

“While I don’t excuse his behavior, human beings have emotions, and you have to look at the totality of it,” Elalam said. “He was probably directing traffic for hours on end, and you probably weren’t the first person that day who did that.

Elalam explained that officers make motor vehicle stops for three reasons – the top cause for accidents: the environment, such as snow; engineering, such as road work, and education, such as drivers not being aware.

“In this case, it was likely because you weren’t aware,” Elalam suggested.

Elalam said he hopes that Everett officer has the chance to rectify. He joked that if she goes to Everett, she receives a citation, but if she goes to Revere, she gets a free coffee.

She followed her negative experience with a good one.

“I was stopped in front of Walmart for taking a U-Turn on the Lynnway,” Viac said. “The others returned from their cruiser to my car laughing and said, ‘You were right.’ They took the sign down.”

Benvicenan said she never had a negative experience with local police, adding that they always arrive on scene quickly.

“I have a lot of respect for officers,” Benvicenan said, who is Viac’s sister. “They’re super helpful, and there for a reason.”

Revere resident Leo Scarlata was talking with Capt. Amy O’Hara when he said that Coffee with a Cop allows citizens to meet cops more personally.

“My car insurance is high,” Scarlata told O’Hara.

O’Hara replied that it is due to the high number of accidents in the city. Per his request, she is going to provide him with a list of accidents in the police log.

Scalata, who plans to sign up for the Civilian Police Academy this spring, said that Revere officers are more courteous during motor vehicle stops than surrounding cities and towns.

 

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