There’s nothing quite like a free cup of coffee to bring people together and spark a conversation.
The idea behind EWU Police’s Coffee with a Cop gatherings is simple: no agendas, no speeches, just stop by and meet the officers who work to keep the community safe.
“We let the students drive the conversation,” said Lt. Jay Day. “We haven’t come in with any type of agenda or want it to go in any sort of way. Sometimes people just need a sounding board or somebody to talk to, and if that happens in the midst of this, then we’re good with that.”
Coffee with a Cop is a national initiative that began in 2011, centered around establishing trust and building relationships between police and the communities they serve. In spring 2017, EWU Police adapted their own version with the help of EWU Libraries providing the location in the JFK lobby and supplying the free coffee.
“We just want to get more face time out there,” said Sgt. Hill. “It can be so negative out in the community with people saying cops are all bad, and that is absolutely not what’s it’s all about. It’s just about building relationships and being able to be open for the students where they feel comfortable talking to us.”
One of the main goals is to get students more comfortable contacting local police when they feel the need to. In a way, it’s getting back to the basics for EWU Police – knowing the community and having the community know them. Sergeant Hill also said it’s been a great opportunity for students studying criminal justice to introduce themselves to the campus police.
“This right here is the very grass roots level of law enforcement,” Day said. “Back in the day when cops were walking foot beats, this is what they did. They interacted with the community and got to know people on a personal level. There’s something going on at a national level that has impacted all the law enforcement nationwide, and this is our own little contribution to help fix that problem one cup of coffee at a time.”