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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

145 N Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20530


September 2017 | Volume 10 | Issue 9

Community engagement and trust building is one of the most important aspects of community-based policing. We, as police, need to create the situations where those things can occur, but it is often difficult and we don’t always reach our intended audience with town hall meetings alone. Coffee with a Cop is the perfect answer to the question of how to better engage our community and show our officers in a true and human light.

Coffee with a Cop started in Hawthorne, California and was quickly recognized as a simple, effective, and barrier-free way for officers to interact with the public at large, in an intimate yet controlled and open setting. The COPS Office funded the Coffee with a Cop program in 2012-13 and conducted trainings around the U.S. The program was a huge success and quickly grew, with thousands of Coffee with a Cop events being held in all 50 states and 15 countries.

Plain and simple, Coffee with a Cop works because of what it is and, more importantly, what it is not. The Coffee with a Cop events are designed to let citizens come into a local restaurant or coffee shop, sit down with an officer, and talk about anything. The beauty of Coffee with a Cop is that much of the time, the citizens just want to get to know the officer behind the badge as a person, and that brings us all together as a community. Coffee with a Cop has a mantra of no agenda and no speeches – keep it simple, keep it transparent, and keep it real.

On October 7, 2016, the very first National Coffee with a Cop Day was held. Across the U.S. over 600 events celebrated community and created new and lasting relationships. The event was so popular that it became the seventh overall trending topic on Twitter that day. On October 4th, 2017 we encourage police departments everywhere to host a Coffee with a Cop in their community. We will have resources, logos and a special map just for Coffee with a Cop day at the web site. We would love to show the world all the fantastic photos of officers and community, so post them on social media and tag them #coffeewithacopday and #coffeewithacop. We will post the best ones on Facebook at So start planning your events now, and make sure you put the info on the map at

Sergeant Chris Cognac
Hawthorne California Police
COPS Office Fellow, 2015

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