My Experience: Coffee With A Cop
Growing up in a family with four police officers, three judges and four lawyers, it is safe to say that I have always felt very comfortable around law enforcement professionals. I spent my summer breaks like Scout Finch watching criminal trials from an old courtroom completely fascinated with the legal process. When I learned that my local police department was hosting a “Coffee With A Cop” event I assumed that it would be like any other family gathering. It kind of was, though, not in the ways that I was expecting.
The Coffee With A Cop program is a national effort to build relationships with police officers and the communities they protect. Police departments across the nation take turns hosting coffee shop events where community members are invited to join law enforcement in enjoying a cup of coffee, some pastries (donuts of course!) and good conversation. It is an effort to build relationships between local law enforcement and the citizens they protect every day. Ultimately, these events foster a familiarity between police officers and citizens that works to protect both parties.
Today I attended the Arlington Police Department’s Coffee With A Cop event. Though I was raised around cops, I found it a little intimidating to enter a room filled with uniformed officers that I had never met; however, I was immediately greeted with a warm cup of coffee and friendly smiles. Just like home!
During the event I had the pleasure of getting to know the men and women who keep me safe. It was fascinating to learn what drew each of them to a life of law enforcement and public service. Many of the officers also came from a law enforcement family like me! Hearing their challenges and also the rewarding experiences truly made the event personal. I saw neighbors communicating their concerns and opinions with the department’s leaders. I watched officers warmly engage with people they have never met. It was clear to me that the Arlington Police Department regards the concerns of their citizens as a top priority.