FREEHOLD BOROUGH — This will be a first in the state, as far as we can tell. A New Jersey county prosecutor wants to sit down this week with county residents, over coffee, to talk about whatever is on their minds.

Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni says he got the idea from municipal police departments around the country, who have tried similar events.

"They (citizens) should expect that I am accessible and I want to answer their questions," he said.

"I thought that as chief law enforcement officer, that this is my job. I work for the public, I am a public servant. Whether it is demystifying stuff about the criminal process, or just talking about anything from last night's Knick's game, or this year's Yankees season upcoming. I just want to be available to the public. I feel like it is my job."

Gramiccioni says he wants the sit-down Thursday morning at Manhattan Bagel on Route 33 in Freehold to mean something for anyone who shows up to talk to him.

"Hopefully, get some good conversation, whether it is law enforcement-related or not. Get a chance to meet some good people."

He says it is unclear just how many people will show up to talk to him. They did not send out any invitations in a formal sense, so he is counting on local media coverage to help spread the word with the public. And they will measure the response to the event in determining the future of any repeat.

"If we have to move to a larger forum, we certainly will do that," he said.

"If someone wants to talk about an ongoing investigation, I obviously cannot do that. I am not ethically or legally permitted to do that. But anything within the bounds of my prosecutor's code of ethics, anything that is in the public record, I am going to do my best to be as transparent as possible."

Gramiccioni confesses to being a tea drinker, but he says the cost of the coffee will be on him.

It takes place Thursday morning from 9:30 to 11.

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Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at Joe.

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