YOUNTVILLE — As Kate O’Reilly and Ashley Martinez kept everyone supplied with coffee, Napa County sheriff’s deputies greeted a dozen county residents Wednesday morning at Yountville’s newest restaurant to shoot the breeze about crime and anything else on the public’s mind.
This was “Coffee with the Cops,” a program started about two years ago as part of the sheriff’s Problem Oriented Police Program (POPP) to deal with recurring community problems ranging from loud noise and litter to car break-ins.
Deputies have hosted informal meetings throughout the county, including Lake Berryessa and American Canyon, and now Yountville.
It’s a chance for officers in uniform to sit down face-to-face with residents who may have a concern or just want to chat, deputies said.
The coffees are scheduled during business hours, requiring no overtime, Sheriff’s Sgt. Craig Nickles noted. “It works out well,” he said.
Like the other residents who came to Ciccio on Washington Street Wednesday, James Bell of St. Helena did not have any major issues. Trespassers who used the swimming pool at his condominium complex were caught two years ago, he said. There was a rash of burglaries not too long ago, but that suspect was found too.
“I just wanted to talk to the police people,” Bell, a retiree, said afterward. “In a casual environment it’s easier to talk.”
Also dropping by Ciccio for “Coffee with the Cops” were other Upvalley residents, two reporters and a Red Cross representative. The discussion ranged from big trucks that get stuck on windy Dry Creek Road to past experiences at the Napa Valley Wine Auction and the deputies’ views on gun control and other current issues.
“It’s good to hear their viewpoints on things,” said Duane Wall, a Bald Mountain resident near Yountville who came with his wife, Roberta.
“I like to see what’s going on with the sheriff,” said Louise Canepa, a music composer and Wall neighbor.
Joining the POPP deputies were Sgt. Doug Wilkinson and Deputy Pascal “Cal” Valente, the two deputies assigned to Yountville.
Rich Browski, a writer and Yountville resident for the past three years, said he came after learning about the meeting through Twitter.
“I wanted to come by and check the new restaurant,” he said. “It’s a good excuse to do both.”
Sheriff’s Capt. Tracey Stuart attended Wednesday’s gathering. “It's been a pleasure getting to know the people who show up and we have had some really enjoyable conversations. We also enjoy the support of local businesses who always make us feel welcome,” she said.
Stuart said the next “Coffee with the Cops” has not been scheduled. The coffees are usually scheduled about week before the meeting.