Riverhead Police have held "coffee with a cop" sessions at local delis and restaurants to open lines of communications with members of the community. Here Sgt. Ron Atkinson, left, and Police Officer Patrick Loszewski chat with Duffy's Deli manager Ian O'Keeffe in November 2016. File photo: Denise Civiletti

Riverhead’s Anti-Bias Task Force will host the town’s first “Synergy” event, a forum for conversation between community members and the Riverhead Police Department.

The task force said it is looking to encourage and increase communication, mutual trust and respect between the police department and the community it serves.

“Synergy” provides an opportunity for an open conversation between members of the community and members of the department, the task force said in a press release. It is modeled after successful “Synergy” programs in Southold and Southampton towns.

The event will take place on Monday, June 7 at 7 p.m. via Zoom.

“Synergy” will be moderated by James Banks, longtime member and current chairperson of the Southampton Anti-Bias Task Force.

“During the ‘Synergy’ sessions, a sharing and an understanding has emerged where community members have shared their feelings in a safe and appropriate environment,” Banks said.

“In these conversations, law enforcement officers become normalized and recognized as part of the communities they serve,” he said.

Banks moderated “Synergy” forums in Southold when the Anti-Bias Task Force there initiated the program several years ago. Southold has held “Synergy” forums in various hamlets around town, with the Anti-Bias Task Force offering attendees free pizza and soft drinks. The forums, which have been well-attended, continue in Southold. The police reform plan developed by Southold recommends establishing a youth “Synergy” program aimed at building communication between police and the town’s youth specifically.

Advance registration is required for the Riverhead “Synergy” Zoom forum June 7. To register, email participant name(s) to [email protected] The Zoom link, providing access by video or telephone, will be emailed prior to the event.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.