“Coffee With a Cop” event takes place at the Starbucks in Ingram Library on Wednesday, March 15. Students will have the opportunity to have a conversation and free coffee with a cop.
“Coffee With a Cop” is an initiative for the community and police officers to get together, just to sit around and talk about common things, life or whatever is on the person’s mind,” said investigator Nakia Lewis, the officer organizing the event. “The goal of ‘Coffee With a Cop’ is to basically bridge the gap between law enforcement and our community. Especially here, on campus, a lot of students don’t really get to see a lot of us, so it’s a way for us to just sit down with no pressure.”
In this way, “Coffee With a Cop” allows students to speak to officers on campus outside of an emergency situation or a traffic stop. They will be able to ask questions and discuss any concerns or criticisms.
“Officers are prepared to answer any questions,” said Lewis. “There’s no agenda to it, it’s an informal conversation where you can just come in and talk about whatever’s on your mind. We accept criticism. We accept the suggestions from the students. We’re not there to say, ‘Hey, no, we don’t want to talk about this’.”
On the other hand, if students are not interested or uncomfortable with speaking with the officers, they are still welcome to stop by and just grab a free cup of coffee.
“It’s a come and go style event where we will supply some coffee,” said Lewis.“ My hope is to give out three free coupons for three lucky students to get either a free specialty drink or a food item, and just for them to come in and engage as much as they want to. Like a meet and greet, they don’t even have to have a conversation, they can just get to know the faces of the people who are serving them.
“The coffee that will be served for free will be just plain coffee with cream and sugar,” Lewis continued.
Unfortunately, not every student who attends will get a free specialty drink.
“Obviously, if the student doesn’t want the coffee that we’re supplying, they’re always welcome to go and get what they like,” said Lewis.
The event is intended to be a proactive measure to allow students to get comfortable with talking to the police, said Lewis.
“We don’t want them to be afraid of us,” said Lewis. “Because, you know, during college is the time where you have fun, you go out with your friends and you may make some decisions you probably shouldn’t make. But we’re here as that guide. Like, hey, we get it. We were once in college too.”
With that being said, Lewis also encouraged students who are in need of guidance to take advantage of the opportunity to speak to officers about making better decisions.
“But look, you got to get it together because after college is the real world,” said Lewis. “You won’t get these opportunities to rectify your behavior. It’s that proactive measure like hey man, what you got going on? Let’s talk about it.”