Coffee with a Cop brings police officers and the community members they serve together–over coffee–to discuss issues and learn more about each other.
Coffee with A Cop was launched in Hawthorne, California in 2011, as a result of a brainstorming session. Members of the Hawthorne Police Department were looking for ways to interact more successfully with the citizens they served each day. Community policing has long been considered a framework for establishing trust between the community and the police. However, over time the character and composition of our nation’s communities have changed due to shifting demographics, more commuters, and the introduction of different communication methods such as websites and social media. The Hawthorne Police Department hit upon a simple plan to break through the barriers that have been built over the years–a cup of coffee. In less than five years, Coffee with a Cop events have been hosted in all 50 states and is one of the most successful community oriented policing programs across the country. The program has also expanded to outside the Unites States to Canada, Europe, Australia, and Africa. The key to Coffee with a Cop’s growing success is that it opens the door for interactions outside of the crisis situations that typically bring law enforcement officers and community members together.
Coffee with a Cop removes the typical barriers that come between officers and residents. And it’s as beneficial for residents as it is for officers. Line level officers begin to see clearly the benefit of police-community collaboration and remember why they decided to put on the badge. The shift in attitudes helps transform an agency into a community-oriented policing organization.
No speeches or specific topics. Just informal conversations about what matters to community residents.
Eliminate obstacles–such as radios, patrol cars and cell phones–for a short period of time to be more approachable and have relaxed conversations with community members.
Coffee with a Cop events are opportunities to build relationships in order to better problem solve with the people officers serve.