Coffee with a cop

Locals Richard Fournier and Patrick Thayer have a conversation with Louisiana Police officer Burns Forsythe at The Bridge. Photo by Woodrow Polston

LOUISIANA—There was a typical crowd of familiar faces at the Bridge Coffee Shop Friday morning. Well, except maybe for the increased police presence. But there were no tickets being written, or trouble to report. The officers were there to enjoy the coffee, and the company of the community that they serve. They were taking part in the “Coffee with a Cop” initiative, which is designed to give citizens the opportunity to get to know their local police officers on a personal level, and to allow them to voice any concerns that they may have for the community.  

According to Coffeewithacop.com, a version of the program was launched in Hawthorne, Calif., in 2011, when officers from the Hawthorne Police Dept. were looking for ways to interact more successfully with the citizens they served each day. Community policing has long been considered a framework for establishing trust between the community and the police.   

However, over time, “the character and composition of our nation’s communities have changed because of shifting demographics, more commuters, and the introduction of different communication methods, such as websites and social media. The Hawthorne Police Dept. hit upon a simple plan to break through the barriers that have been built over the years—a cup of coffee.”  

Louisiana’s Chief of Police Will Jones said, “This is a nationally proven way for the citizens of a community to forge a partnership with the police. I believe it will be a good thing for the city of Louisiana.”  

He also mentioned that, “This will be a regular event that we are going to do. As of now, it will be once a month at the Bridge Coffee shop on Georgia Street. We are looking forward to seeing it grow as the word gets out, and more people begin to take an interest in having conversations with our officers.” 

Coffee with a cop events are now held in all 50 states and is one of the most successful community oriented policing programs across the country. The program has also expanded to outside the U.S. to Canada, Europe, Australia, Africa, and Latin America. The key to Coffee with a Cop’s growing success according to the organization’s website, is “It opens the door for interactions outside of the crisis situations that typically bring law enforcement officers and community members together.”

The website also states that according to a survey, 70 percent of attendees feel better about their local police after the event. 

For more information about “Coffee with a Cop,” contact the Louisiana Police department or stop by The Bridge Coffee Shop at 403 Georgia Street. 

Recommended for you