Coffee with a Cop draws large crowd
reprinted from the Visalia Times
With temperatures in the triple digits, Visalia Police Department thought root beer floats would be a welcomed treat to escape the heat.
The department held its summer installment of Coffee with a Cop Wednesday at the West Riggin Avenue A&W Restaurant.
Coffee with a Cop is an opportunity for community members to talk with local law enforcement in a relaxed atmosphere.
The event takes place every six to eight weeks at different coffee shops throughout the city.
“It’s a little different this time,” Chief Jason Salazar said. “We wanted to change things up, and it looks like it worked.”
The time change didn’t affect attendance, as families piled into the restaurant to shake hands with officers and get their sweet fix.
“I saw the event online,” Bella Castro said. “I wanted to introduce my kids to officers and teach them about giving back to the community.”
Site manager of the restaurant, Craig Van Horn, was excited to host the meeting. His advertising focused on paying respect to local law enforcement.
“We don’t give enough thanks to our first responders,” he said.
Officer Adam Aguallo helped children onto a patrol motorcycle while officer Daniel Roberts introduced his K9 partner, Xero, to community members.
The meeting is just one way the department provides the community a platform to discuss issues.
“We want to remind the public we are here to them,” Sgt. Damon Maurice said. “We can build trust over a meal.”
Since participating in the nationwide program last year, there have been seven Coffee with a Cop events.
The next installment of Coffee with a Cop will be in September. The date and location have not been determined, Salazar said.
Coffee with a Cop is a national initiative supported by the Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
Other police departments across the nation use similar programs.