The issue that I have run in to is that there is no "correct" answer for everyone...
If the officers try to pick a place to sit, so they have visability to watch others, and kind of have that "Im watching you folks" look while they eat their meal, even if they dont mean to offend others, there will be complaints because the officer is standoffish, or is considered a bit hostile, unfriendly, or intimidating to those people the officer serves and is ultimately responsible too.
If the officers "pretend" not to notice and go about their own business, some will be offended because they are not aware enough, seem aloof, etc.
Personally, I bring something to eat with me, or try to catch the drive through when its slow, and go back to the office and eat. But there again, one could argue, that I am keeping distance from, and not being "in" the community itself by eating in the office.
As I said there is no "correct" answer for everyone...
Thats even without getting in to the "what if's" of a person trying to do harm to an officer.
Edit to add....
As to the number of officers...Well, there again it can be a sore subject. Take for example having a parade, which requires most of the officers at my department, since its a small town, with not that many officers. We used to go eat as a group before/after a parade/event/etc, at a restaurant, once we were off the clock, not paid, but some complaints came in about the "number" of officers "working" never mind the fact that we were off the clock, and had a event that required more then the ordinary level of officers for a normal day.
Once that was stopped, we got a couple of questions about, "why cant I find an officer to ask when the parade/event/etc starts like we were able to?"
While I see both sides, I dont see a satisfactory answer that will please both sides equally.
Geetarman, I hope you do not take my reply in offense, just sharing what I have experienced in the past.
Last edited by Fishing_Cabin; October 19, 2012 at 08:29 PM.