SALISBURY TOWNSHIP POLICE
Salisbury Township Police Department officers joined with police departments in all 50 states Oct. 3 with Coffee with a Cop community outreach efforts to improve trust and build relationships – one cup of coffee at a time.
The gathering was held 1 to 3 p.m. at the Lehigh Street South Mall Starbucks store with township citizens coming and going, grabbing a complimentary cup of coffee and asking questions or making comments about police department efforts in their neighborhoods.
One couple said they just wanted to introduce themselves and chat with the officers who patrol their neighborhood. Another resident asked about the frequency of traffic safety patrols in her neighborhood.
Event organizer Det. Christopher Casey said the gathering had just the right tone and was a good follow up to National Night Out activities held in the summer at Salisbury Middle School. Salisbury Police Department Chief Allen Stiles said he appreciates the non-stress atmosphere the Coffee with a Cop events offer residents to interact with those who patrol Salisbury neighborhoods.
Nationally, Coffee with a Cop was launched in Hawthorne, Calif., in 2011, when officers from 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 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 built over the years – a cup of coffee.
Coffee with a Cop events are now held 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 United States to Canada, Europe, Australia, Africa and Latin America.
The key to Coffee with a Cop’s growing success is that it opens the door for interactions outside of the crisis situations which typically bring law enforcement officers and community members together.