‘Coffee with a Cop’ offers conversation, builds trust

Published September 24, 2018 This content is archived.

UB Police is extending an invitation to members of the UB community to join UPD officers Oct. 3 on two campuses for coffee and conversation.

Coffee with a Cop is taking place from 10 a.m. to noon in the Student Union lobby on the North Campus and the atrium in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ building on the Downtown Campus.

The event is part of national Coffee with a Cop Day, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

Started in 2011 by the Hawthorne (California) Police Department in response to tensions between police and the community, Coffee with a Cop brings officers and their communities together for casual conversation over a cup of coffee.

The initiative has grown to include more than 2,000 law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Organizers say this simple concept provides everyone with a voice, strengthens understanding and enhances cultural awareness.

“You’re breaking down that barrier, establishing trust — that’s what community policing is about,” says Chris Bartolomei, UB interim police chief   

“When members of the UB community meet officers at a campus event, especially where they have an opportunity to speak and interact with them, they are more likely to call an officer when they need help, or to report a crime,” Bartolomei says.

UB police officers are often in the Student Union, he says, talking and interacting with members of the campus community.

“UPD is grounded in the concept of community policing,” he says. “Building and maintaining mutual trust is a key goal for us. Getting out into the university community, reaching out and getting to know people is where it starts and it is especially important with students.”