While Moran Square Diner owner Chris Giannetti whipped up a batch of eggs and bacon for a customer Wednesday morning, Police Officer Jeffrey Hurley took a position at the counter, drinking a mug of coffee and chatting with customers of the historic restaurant. Officer Hurley, a member of the Police Department Community Engagement Unit, was visiting the 77-year-old Worcester-style diner as part of the Coffee With a Cop initiative. It is a national effort to bring police and community members together over coffee. Fitchburg is trying it out for a month, with coffee stops at various shops each Wednesday.
Georgetown Police School Resource Officer Henry Olshefsky met with high school students for coffee on Oct. 5 as part of the department’s Coffee with a Cop event. From 6:45 to 7:45 a.m., Olshefsky met with dozens of Georgetown High School students at Royal Brew Café, which opened this year in the school’s cafeteria.
Those driving by Needham’s Center at the Heights the morning of October 12 might be anxiously awaiting the week’s police log to see why police cruisers were parked around the building. Well, they weren’t responding to any kind of report of a crime at the Center. Instead they were dropping by for a cup of coffee and good conversation with Needham’s seniors.
In one corner of the restaurant, McIntosh and Sgt. Bret Inglehart drank coffee and talked with a few employees on a break. Officer Brandi Garcia listened to a man share his story about battling with Valley Fever while Lt. Liz Yarber and Detective Kevin Phelps talked about dealing with homeless people rummaging through their trash, the importance of having video at your home or business, and how officers use that information to track down criminals and prevent additional property crimes.
Between bites of Egg McMuffins and sips of coffee, the assembled discussed everything from sports to the plans for new school buildings in the city.
Starkville High students arrived to school early this morning, October 17, to talk with police. Officers chatted with students and staff at its “Coffee with a Cop” event at the school’s cafeteria.
“What was cool is that they were right here [in the front] and were really eager to connect with people as they came in. They kind of created their own welcoming atmosphere that just was really fun. They were laughing, engaging with the community,” said Starbucks manager Benjamin Wathne. “They really made an effort to connect with every person who came through the door.”
For Jean Perez, a Linden resident for 11 years, visiting her police department’s “Coffee with a Cop” event was about interacting with officers in person rather than through social media. “I wanted to put a face to the police officers,” Perez said outside the Starbucks in Aviation Plaza on Oct. 4. “I don’t really know about them. That is the most No. 1 complaint in our ward is that we want to get to interact, at least on a positive note.”
Coffee with a Cop has experienced an increase in attendees since the community outreach program was mobilized, and it reached one of its largest audiences Tuesday at the Depot Coffeehouse & Bistro in downtown Hattiesburg.
The success of the event was apparent before it even began. “I got a call before I got there that there were people waiting for us,” reserve police officer Dan Gnau said.