The Oro Valley Police Department has had a decent response to its monthly Coffee with a Cop program, where they invite the public to sit down with them over a cup of Joe to talk about issues, concerns, or simply get to know the men and women serving on the police force in their town.
The police department in Oro Valley isn’t alone in doing this. The informal meet up is in more than 175 towns and cities across 36 states where people can talk to their police force in a non-emergency setting.
Oro Valley Police Chief Danny Sharp has felt the reaction has been really good as more and more people attend the get together each month.
The nation-wide program, which began spreading to multiple departments few years ago, is led by the Department of Justice. According to its website, the program is “enhancing community trust, increasing police legitimacy, and building partnerships. Community members come to their local Coffee with a Cop event for a variety of reasons, but no matter why they come, they are likely to leave with a more positive impression of their local law enforcement officers.”
The site also says, “one of the keys to Coffee with a Cop’s success is that it removes the physical barriers and crisis situations that routinely define interactions between law enforcement officials and community members. Instead it allows for relaxed, informal one-on-one interactions in a friendly atmosphere. This informal contact increases trust in police officers as individuals which is foundation to building partnerships and engaging in community problem solving.”
The department has now held three of the Coffee with a Cop events, and seems to be growing in popularity each time they have one.
Lt Kara Riley, the public information officer for the department, says it is still fairly new and the program was kicked off during a time when a portion of the community leaves for the hot summer months.
“I am hoping that we’ll see and increase as the temperatures go back to something reasonable,” Riley said. “Not a lot of people want to have hot coffee.”
The next event will be Sunday, July 27, from 8 to 10 a.m. at The Café at Sun City, 1555 E. Rancho Vistoso Blvd.