Belleville PD launching ‘Pizza With a Cop’ later this week

You’ve heard of Coffee With a Cop. Well, the Belleville Police Department is changing that a little — some might even say for the better. That’s because the Belleville PD is building relationships, one slice at a time.

The public is invited to the first “Pizza With a Cop” event scheduled for Thursday, June 23, at Algieri’s Pizza, 502 Union Ave. from 6 to 8 p.m.

On the heels of the popular “Coffee With a Cop” morning meet-ups, Pizza With a Cop provides a dinnertime opportunity for residents to meet members of the Belleville Police Department in a casual, relaxed setting.

“This is all about meeting even more residents, building more lines of communication and starting new conversations,” Sgt. Anthony Abate, who is organizing the event, said. “It’s about getting to know the people who we serve and protect every day and for them to get to know us, too.”

Fostering connections with the community has been a mission of the police department under Chief Mark Minichini. That’s why 10 to 20 police personnel will be on hand representing a cross section of the department.

For instance, there will be patrol officers and supervisors, longtime veterans and newer officers. Some police personnel are coming by on their day off, others are dropping in during their work breaks and still others will be coming by after their shift ends.

Abate said during “Coffee With a Cop” events, residents took the opportunity to mention traffic concerns or quality of life issues they may be observing in the community. Other times, residents seize on the moment to give a simple but heartfelt “thank you” to the police.

“And since this is a different environment, and they’re not speaking with us while we’re out and about and in between calls, they feel more at ease,” Abate said.

“Pizza With a Cop” will also be an opportunity for Belleville police to inform the public about other initiatives on the horizon. For instance, the police will be launching Operation Chill. 7-Eleven donated 300 vouchers, which police will distribute to children they observe performing a good deed around the town.

Pizza With a Cop is also about community-building, Abate said. That even includes the owners of Algieri’s Pizza, which is providing the pizza.

“It’s about bringing everyone together and reminding ourselves that we’re all in this together,” Abate said.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.