Community, cops find companionship on common grounds

Audrey Caro

The Sweet Home Police Department hosted its first Coffee with Cop event at Sugar Vibes on Oct. 4, but Chief Jeff Lynn is planning to hold one quarterly.

The nation-wide annual event, which started in multi-ethnic Hawthorne, Calif. in 2011, is gaining popularity, Lynn said.

“It gives both community members and officers and dispatchers the ability to meet and talk outside of what would be a ‘normal’ police contact,” Lynn said. “Our hope is that it will foster greater respect from all. It’s just another way to build relationships and trust between the community and law enforcement.”

Fostering that relationship is one of the reasons Amanda Mowery brought her 3-year-old son Finnley, who was decked out in a SWAT uniform as he enjoyed a doughnut.

“That was great to see him and how he was dressed,” Lynn said. “We are lucky anytime that we can meet and interact with someone who has Finn’s eagerness and excitement to be around us.”

While the mood was light as officers and citizens chatted, the dangers of wearing the badge did not go ignored.

About half way through the hour-long gathering Rick Ellingson, pastor at Cornerstone Fellowship, asked the group of citizens and law enforcement to hold hands while he prayed for the officers.

About Coffee with a Cop

Coffee with A Cop was launched in Hawthorne, Calif. in 2011.

“Members of the Hawthorne Police Department were looking for ways to interact more successfully with the citizens they served each day,” according to the event website.

HPD thought having a cup of coffee together would help break through some of the barriers that have developed between community members and officers over the years.

“The key to Coffee with a Cop’s growing success is that it opens the door for interactions outside of the crisis situations that typically bring law enforcement officers and community members together,” according to the website.