In a week and a half, on November 8th, members of the community will have another opportunity to enjoy a Coffee with a Cop. This upcoming event is special as it coincides with Veterans Day, celebrated November 11th. Members of the community will have the opportunity to visit with local law enforcement from the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa State Patrol as well as Troopers, Deputies and Officers that have served in the armed forces. It is such an important day to commemorate and this upcoming Coffee with a Cop is a unique opportunity for community members to thank veterans for their service while discussing important community issues with law enforcement.
We have praised our local law enforcement for their connection with our community, as demonstrated by previous Coffee with a Cop events and in our Q&A with Chief Tupper. Officer Anthony Accola graciously shared his time and thoughts about the upcoming Coffee with a Cop in an exclusive Q&A with Marshalltown Moms.
Read on to learn about this important community event.
Officer Accola, can you tell Marshalltown Moms what Coffee with a Cop is?
Coffee with a Cop provides a unique opportunity for community members to ask questions and learn more about the police department’s work in Marshalltown neighborhoods. The goal is to establish new bonds within the community and strengthen relationships already fostered. The Coffee with a Cop program was started by the Hawthorne (California) Police Department (HPD) in 2011 in response to tensions between the police and the community. The HPD wanted to help break down barriers, so they came up with a simple plan: Officers invited their residents to join them for a cup of coffee and a conversation. They called it Coffee with a Cop, and it has been spreading like wildfire ever since the first cup was poured. Today more than 2,000 law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve have participated in this program. The Coffee with a Cop program has received funding support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) Office, and its growth since 2011 continues at an exponential rate, reaching thousands of agencies throughout the United States and abroad (including Canada, Australia, Europe, and Africa). In fact, Coffee with a Cop was highlighted in the Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing as a way to build community trust and confidence. The program aims to advance the practice of community policing through improving relationships between police officers and community members.
When/where is the upcoming event?
The upcoming Coffee with a Cop event will be held on November 8th, 2017 at the Iowa Veteran’s Home from 8:00 am to 11:00 am in the Malloy LRC room.
Many in Marshalltown think community members have a great relationship with law enforcement. Is this an effort to continue to build on that successful partnership?
The Marshalltown Police Department is blessed to have a community that is supportive of it and its members. The department is made up of citizens itself who care deeply about the continued safety and wellbeing of the community. The focus of the Coffee with a Cop program is to build upon existing relationships as well as foster new ones. It gives the community a chance to meet and interact with Officers of the department in a setting free of barriers such as Officers in squad cars patrolling the streets. Most interactions the public has with Officers is during an emergency or when something negative has happened. We understand an emergency call is not the time nor place to get to know the citizens. Coffee with a Cop also gives citizens the chance to get to know the Officers on a more personal level. This goes a long way in providing community members a sense of comfort, trust and reassurance when they truly know the Officer who is responding to their request for service.
I understand the November 8th event will be different than previous ones. In what way?
The upcoming Coffee with a Cop event is truly unique and is something I personally have been wanting to do for some time. The date and location were chosen to help celebrate and recognize the amazing work our veterans have done. Marshalltown and Marshall County is home to a large number of veterans. This gives the community a chance to not only meet Officers of the Marshalltown Police Department, but other community members who have served in the Armed Forces. The Marshalltown Police Department will also be joined by the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa State Patrol for the first time in our Coffee with a Copprogram. Some of the Officer’s, Troopers, and Deputies attending have also served in the Armed Forces.
Is there any topic or line of questions you expect to be discussed on November 8th?
Coffee with a Cop is aimed at not having a specific topic and focuses on building rapport with community members. This particular event the focus is on veterans, however, as with all previous events, the conversation and interactions between the public and Officers steers the topic of discussion.
What would newcomers expect?
The best way I can describe Coffee with a Cop is to compare it to a family reunion. Officers of the Marshalltown Police Department are members of the “Marshalltown Family” and we are looking forward to catching up with other “Marshalltown Family” members. What I personally enjoy about the program is getting to know members of the community and hearing their stories. How they came to Marshalltown or how long they have lived in Marshalltown. What are their interests, hobbies, likes and dislikes about the community. And then the discussions on what can be done as a community to better the lives of all members. I truly look forward to all our Coffee with a Cop for the simple reason I don’t know who I’ll meet and what we’ll talk about.
Anything else you want Marshalltown Moms and families to know about Coffee with a Cop?
The Coffee with a Cop events are a perfect time for members of your group and their children to interact positively with Officers of the Marshalltown Police Department. Any interactions Officers can have, especially with children, that are positive give those individuals comfort in the future should they ever have a need to request our assistance. We encourage all community members to attend these events and get to know the department and its members.