By Cindy Granier
Officers from the University of Houston Police Department will gather one morning next month with members of the UH community in an informal, neutral setting to discuss community issues and build relationships while drinking coffee.
Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend the Coffee with a Cop event on Wednesday, Sept. 17, from 9 to 10 a.m. in the lobby of the University Center. The gathering will provide a unique opportunity for community members to ask questions and learn more about the police department’s work.
The majority of contacts law enforcement has with the public happen during emergencies or emotional situations. Those situations are not always the most effective times for relationship building with the community, and some community members may feel that officers are unapproachable on the street. Coffee with a Cop breaks down barriers and allows for a relaxed, one-on-one interaction.
“We hope that community members will feel comfortable to ask questions, bring concerns, or simply get to know our officers,” said UHPD Sgt. Dina Padovan. “These interactions are the foundation of community partnerships.”
Coffee with a Cop is a national initiative supported by the Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Similar events are being held across the country, as local police departments strive to make lasting connections with the communities they serve.
The program aims to advance the practice of community policing through improving relationships between police officers and community members one cup of coffee at a time. Questions can be directed to Padovan at 713-743-0596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.