The Van Alstyne Police Department plans to welcome members of the public to join its officers for donuts, coffee and conversation Friday morning as the agency looks to better connect with the people it serves.

The free meet-and-greet breakfast will be co-hosted by the city’s Chamber of Commerce and held at the Van Alstyne Community Center from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Chief Tim Barnes said while his department hosts multiple outreach programs throughout the year, like National Night Out, Friday’s event is a first for Van Alstyne Police.

“When members of the community interact with officers, it’s too often over a tragedy or something unexpected in the course of their day-to-day lives,” Barnes said. “But this is a friendly setting for people to meet and sit down with our officers. If they have questions or just want to get to know more about us and what we do, this is a great forum for that.”

Barnes said the dynamic between officers and citizens in Van Alstyne is changing with the city. As the population of Van Alstyne continues to grow, Barnes said officers must be prepared to respond to calls and assist familiar faces as well as newcomers. The police chief said Friday’s breakfast is one more opportunity to do so.

“Somebody who shows up to this may be part of that next call that the officer goes on, so it’s important that there’s a relationship there,” Barnes said. “And as this community grows, it’s very important for us to stay in contact and reach out to let everyone here know what’s going on and who we are.”

Barnes said the department hopes to host the event every few months and hold future meetings at different local businesses. He encouraged residents of the city to turn out on Friday and take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the law enforcement agency patrolling their streets.

“I think it’ll be a great event for anyone who wants to get to know their local police department and get to meet some officers,” Barnes said. “It’s about an hour out of your day and it may be well worth the information and experience you get out of it.”

The Van Alstyne Community Center is located at 262 North Preston Street. For additional information, call the Van Alstyne Police Department at 903-482-5251.