"We get to know them. We get to know the people in our community. They get to know us on a personal level. Not just to hear some concerns about what's going on in their neighborhood, but learn about them and their families. And they get to learn about us because we're all inclusive in the community," said Raleigh Police Department Sgt. Michael Schabel.
Sgt. Schabel needed less than three seconds to explain why he wanted to become an officer.
"To be able to help and make a difference in life," Schabel said.
The event was held at a local Golden Corral and was one of various events and tributes taking place throughout the country.
Law Enforcement Appreciation Day started in 2015, in an effort to show support to authorities.
"We do it because we care. We do it because it is a calling. Law enforcement is not just a job. It's something much bigger than that," said Sgt. Chris Knox with NC State Highway Patrol.
Sgt. Knox explained the day is just as much about those who currently serve as it is about those who died in the line of duty.
"You can't quantify the sacrifices that officers have made. Some have given their lives to protect their communities," Knox explained.
Knox said everyday small gestures of gratitude make a difference for law enforcement.
"Just that simple thank you does go a long way. For someone to stop you at a restaurant and to try and buy you a meal. Or for someone to just buy you a coffee, or bring their kid over to shake their hand, that goes a long way, and is kind of rejuvenating for why you did this. Just bringing you back for why you got into this line of work," Knox said.
Raleigh Police and other local departments have held "Coffee with a Cop" events in the past.
There is a separate National Police Week that runs from May 12 - May 18 and National First Responders Day on October 28.