By Mary O’KEEFE
Glendale Police Department North Command hosted a Coffee with the COPPS event yesterday morning at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Montrose.
Coffee with the COPPS is a time for community members to talk to the police that serve their neighborhoods. They have a chance to discuss problems, ask questions and just get to know their local officers.
The program had been a fixture in the area years ago then was discontinued until about four years ago when then-Community Officer Matt Zakarian revived it. For the last four years, Zakarian continued the program. He used it as an opportunity to discuss issues in the area like the need for Neighborhood Watch, which he worked to bring more residents into.
Wednesday morning was a changing of the guard, so to speak, as Zakarian has been promoted to detective and new Community Officer Abe Chung took on his new role.
The community turned out to welcome Chung and wish Zakarian well.
“I just wanted to shake your hand and thank you,” said local resident Bill Dodson to Zakarian.
Many walked up to Zakarian to thank him for his “cop on the beat” approach to the area. He made it a point to network with organizations and community leaders, but now it was time to move on.
“I won’t be at the next [Coffee with the COPPS], “ he said.
Zakarian has been assigned to Violent Crimes Bureau, Assaults detail. He will be handling crimes like domestic violence and sexual assault.
Officer Chung has been an officer in the area for three years. He knows the community from a patrol officer’s perspective but looks forward to meeting everyone as the community officer.
Chung will continue the programs started by Zakarian, including Coffee with the COPPS, as well as supporting Neighborhood Watch. In addition, through the leadership of Lt. Scott Bickle, the commander of the north area, each school in far North Glendale will have a patrol officer assigned to them. This is a proactive effort for police to have a working relationship with those at the school, which will help when responding to emergencies.
There will be a few more goodbyes for Zakarian as he continues the transition from community officer to downtown detective. He has made an impact in the area and now Chung plans to continue those outreach efforts.