This probably won’t be much of a surprise to anyone, but I am a peace officer and yes, I love coffee. Police work and coffee go together like sausage rolled in pancakes, aka pigs in a blanket. Yes, I am ware of the pun on pork and the police, but that sort of thing doesn’t concern me. What concerns me, and the rest of the members of the CHP, is focusing on building public trust.
We want to have a connection with the community we serve. And since we like coffee, one way the CHP can connect with the public is through national program called “Coffee with a Cop.” It is a simple concept: officers and community members come together in an informal, neutral space like a local coffee shop, to discuss issues, have coffee, and build relationships.
Removing the barriers between uniformed police officers and the public, eliminating an agenda, and meeting on mutual turf is why the Coffee with a Cop concept works. The CHP wants to build this trust one cup at a time.
In over 80 cities across 24 states, Coffee with a Cop has done wonders for community trust and partnership building. One of the keys to the program’s success is it removes barriers that routinely exist between officers and citizens. This allows for relaxed, one-on-one interactions, which are the necessary foundation of partnerships.
During Coffee with a Cop, we can talk about whatever you want. Topics are unlimited. I don’t know about you, but if this program would have been around before I was an officer, I would have definitely taken advantage of the different questions I could have asked. Like, “Is it really illegal to drive while barefoot?” “Am I required to have gloves in a glove box?” Come to Coffee with a Cop to find out the answers.
If you are interested in having a Coffee with a Cop event, email Officer Traci Gallian: firstname.lastname@example.org
As law enforcement officers, it is important for us to focus our community interaction on the 90 percent of people in society who do not have regular police contact. These are people who have based their perception of policing on stories they have heard from friends or have seen on television. Many people, just like yourselves, seldom get stopped by law enforcement and rarely call for assistance. When asked specifically about their last contact with the police, many will have to go back years to that one time when they were pulled over. This is why every contact we can make with the public is important. We want to share the community’s concerns and make every effort to address them. You don’t need to be pulled over by an officer in order to speak with the CHP. As CHP officers, one of our top priorities is engaging our community in public safety efforts. That doesn’t have to be done through enforcement. The CHP will happily install your child’s car seat and ensure you kids are safe. We are members of the public just like you.
If you are interested in hosting a Coffee with a Cop event, please let me know and we will make every effort to set one up. One of my favorite things to do is socialize. I am very excited to hear the community response and to get started on the incredible conversations we, as officers, can have with our community. Let’s talk and I can learn about you, and you can learn about what is actually behind the badge, building trust along the way and enjoying one cup of coffee at a time.
Coffee with a Cop is being hosted by several of our offices throughout the Central Valley. If you are interested in having a Coffee with a Cop event, send me an email at email@example.com or call me at 559-277-7250 and we will get started on hosting one at your favorite spot.
Officer Traci Gallian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more from the CHP Central Division, go to the division’s Facebook page.