As I am writing this post, I am preparing to attend my neighborhood Coffee with a Cop event. The nonprofit where I work is hosting this event in order to help bring the community to the table to see that officers can be helpful allies, and to help the officers see that the community is just as invested in stopping crimes that plague our city as they are. By having honest conversations in a power neutral environment, we can increase trust and understanding on both sides. Ultimately, this trust and understanding can change the way that people act and the way that law enforcement occurs.
My excitement over the potential of this idea took me to Google… which led me to the national movement. These events are not unique to my city, but are happening everywhere. While the national organization focuses on police departments being the organizers, that doesn’t have to be the case (as shown by the event in my city). So, this weeks suggestion of how to change the world is to work with your local police department, community organizations, and a local coffee shop or restaurant to host an event near you.
Having this event is truly a win-win situation. The mutually beneficial nature of such an event is best described by the national organization itself. The benefits they list include
- Strengthened community policing
- Continued department branding
- Increased officer-citizen engagement
- Developed and strengthened citizen trust
- Strengthened community voice
- Reinforced understanding of officer duties
- Developed and strengthened officer trust
- Enhanced cultural awareness