Coffee with a cop: bridging the gap

Fellowship and caffeine connects students and police

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Bailey Monteith

EWU Police Department s K-9 officer Hilani posing with a coffee cup in the JFK Library. Coffee with a Cop is intended to bridge the gap between police officers and civilians.

By Kendall Koch, Reporter

As the local and statewide peacekeepers, police officers can be viewed by some as intimidating or hard to talk to. Sharing a cup of joe, however, is one solution that many police departments are using to improve relationships with the public.

The EWU Police Department gathered in the JFK Library lobby on Jan. 24 offering coffee, conversations and a chance to pet K-9 Facility Officer Hilani. Coffee with a Cop is a nationwide event on campuses and in cities everywhere.

“The city of Hawthorne, California started this event as a way to bridge the gap between citizens and officers,” Officer Tiffani Archie said. “It has been going on for eight years.”

According to the Coffee with a Cop website, its goal is to break barriers with a cup of coffee. The program has even grown beyond the U.S., reaching parts of Canada, Europe, Australia, Latin America and Africa. More than 10,000 events have been held worldwide since 2011 and all 50 U.S. states have hosted a Coffee with a Cop event.

According to Archie, EWU has been hosting this event for a year and a half to help improve relationships between police and the students on campus.

“We want to make a positive first contact with students, instead of unfortunate circumstances,” Archie said. “And to make (sure) the feelings of ‘us versus them,’ isn’t as strong when those circumstances do arise.”

The Coffee with a Cop event will be continuing on the EWU campus on Feb. 19, March 14 and into spring quarter. For more information go to the EWU Police Department website.