Coffee With a Cop becoming a quarterly APD tradition
By Reggie Connell, The Apopka Voice
Original article HERE
There’s nothing like a good cup of coffee to spark a good conversation, and that’s exactly what the Apopka Police Department wanted yesterday.
Officers from the APD filled the Main Street McDonald’s Saturday morning. They talked to residents, showed children their police cruisers, and handed out coupons for free coffee. The heavy police presence was for their “Coffee with a Cop” program, which is over a year old now in Apopka.
“There are a lot of paradigm shifts going on in law enforcement these days and a lot of animosity between the communities and everything… and I want to make sure we don’t have that in Apopka,” APD Chief Michael McKinley said at the very first Coffee With a Cop event in January of 2016. “I want to make sure we are intertwined with the residents of Apopka and have a good working relationship with them.”
In that time a lot of conversations have happened between a mix of APD officers, McKinley, elected officials and residents of Apopka. Many McDonald’s customers are simply there to get breakfast and start their weekend activities, but see the APD officers and engage them with questions on a range of topics. It’s a unique ice-breaker that has become a quarterly tradition at the Apopka Main Street McDonalds.
“Coffee with a Cop” provides a unique opportunity for community members to ask questions and learn more about the department’s work in Apopka’s neighborhoods. The majority of contact law enforcement has with the public is during an emergency, or an emotional situation, which is not always the most effective times for relationship building with the community, and some community members may feel that officers are unapproachable on the street. “Coffee with a Cop“ breaks down barriers and allows for a relaxed, one-on-one interaction.