There are two common perceptions of the police force in this country. One idea paints police officers as heroes, always there to watch out for the people and protect them from harm. The other perception, the one growing more and more prevalent, is of a strict, hard-lined and sometimes even brutal law enforcer.
Coffee With a Cop, which is coming to the UC lounge on Thursday March 31, is a nation- wide program aiming to diminish that second, negative image that many people, including Pacific University students, hold of police officers.
Coffee With a Cop, began in 2011 as way for officers to connect with community members in a positive way. It provides an opportunity for people to sit and chat with cops and bring up issues and concerns on their own terms.
“Students are encouraged to ask questions, specifically about things that concern them, or things they find pertinent— marijuana use, DUII and MIP and stolen bikes, whatever” Lauren Quinsland, community outreach specialist from the Forest Grove Police Department, said.
Officers want students to kindly engage with them, rather than them having to engage with students in a less than innocent situation.
According to Quinsland, the event is “an excellent way for individuals to meet officers in an environment that is friendly, casual, and open and it is our hope that most, if not all Pacific Students will get to know our officers in a capacity like that rather than, say, being put in the back of a police car or being brought in for questioning.”
The Forest Grove police want students to know that rather than writing parking tickets or bust house parties, officers want to help and protect them.
To convey this message and begin new conversations and relationships, house coffee from Starbucks will be on the police department March 31 at noon in the UC lounge.