Cop-a-coffee

Posted: April 18, 2014

THE OLD MEN of the "Can't Remember S--- Club," or the CRS Club, as they like to call it, have been frequenting the same Upper Darby McDonald's every morning for 20 years.

Yesterday, their breakfast routine was scrambled by nine Upper Darby cops who came to the restaurant for their first-ever "Coffee with a Cop" program.

"It really messed us up," CRS clubber Pete McEneaney, 81, said with a smile. "Today, they come in and make all this hullabaloo!"

Coffee with a Cop is a national program started in 2012 that more than 175 departments in 36 states have adopted.

Upper Darby police Superintendent Michael Chitwood wanted to do it in his town to facilitate informal interactions between his cops and the citizens they serve.

The department reached out to the McDonald's at State Road and Lansdowne Avenue, which agreed to provide coffee, tea and juice to attendees free of charge.

"It was definitely good for the public and great for the police officers who do give us so much," said Mary Ann Hughes, McDonald's director of operations.

No grinds about it - the program was a success. The restaurant was full of people of all ages having one-on-one conversations with police officers they'd never met before. A busload of a children from the Step By Step Learning Center even surprised the department by showing up en masse.

"This was a home run," Chitwood said. "All of my guys were smiling ear-to-ear from the positive feedback."

Chitwood walked over to the table of CRS Club men.

"You ever hear so much noise?" he said.

"Most of us are hard of hearing anyway," McEneaney said.

"Most of us can't have sex anymore, either," another CRS Club member, Albert Weintraub, 93, chimed in with a chuckle.

Joyce McHugh, 68, who heard about the event from the department's Facebook page, said it was nice to actually meet the officers face-to-face.

"I thought it was a great idea because I love Chief Chitwood," she said. "It's wonderful they're out here."

McHugh joined a group of senior woman who also frequent the restaurant every morning.

"It's like our second home," said Lucille Mancellotti, 89.

The ladies said several officers visited with them throughout the morning and they had their pictures taken with each one. When asked what the officers talked with them about, saucy Mancellotti, who wore diamond-studded sunglasses and a yellow flower on her hat, said, tongue-in-cheek, "Their sex lives."

Capt. Anthony Paparo came over to the table with a grin on his face.

"Ladies, you need to keep it down over here," he teased.

Chitwood said he'd like to hold at least two other such sessions this year. McEneaney, of the CRS Club, thinks that's a good idea.

"It's a happening and it shouldn't be a happening, because police departments should have this on a regular basis," he said. "It's important, especially for young kids, to realize they're not the bad guys."


On Twitter: @FarFarrAway

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