Coffee is often at the center of lives. Around a cup of joe, friends catch up, neighbors get together, and now, with National Coffee with a Cop Day, communities grow stronger.
At Nextdoor, we love when we see our agency partners and the communities they serve come together. This is why we feel strongly about this day and the delicious drink that it centers around. Over the last several years, many of our police department partners have used Nextdoor to share their Coffee with a Cop events, where police officers get together with the neighborhood to talk all things community.
When planning these events in your neighborhood, make sure to follow the tips below:
- Host the event in a casual setting. While coffee shops may be the most natural choice, police departments have chosen various types of locations. Officer Ed Bonchak of the Euclid Police Department has hosted Coffee with a Cop events at restaurants, churches, supermarkets and even gas stations. Officer Bonchak mentioned that these local owners have all been incredibly receptive. “They’re not just businesses,” he says, “They’re our community partners.”
- Offer various times and days to reach more residents. When hosting these events, mornings might be the ideal time for coffee, but early evenings accommodate those who cannot take time off from work. Public Information Officer Katie Nelson of Mountain View Police Department says that her department usually sees a higher turnout during the summer months when parents tend to bring their kids. Wintertime is trickier, simply because it gets darker earlier in the day.
- Remind your residents of the event frequently with social media. Officer Bonchak notes that once residents know about the events, their enthusiasm grows. “Now, we have a bit of a following. We call these residents our ‘frequent flyers,’ people that are asking about the next Coffee with a Cop. I can’t let people know early enough. We use Nextdoor to promote our events, distribute flyers, and we also post on our community bulletin boards at various intersections of the city.”
- Embrace the open conversations. Residents come because they want to meet their local police department and get to know officers in a casual setting. “Be prepared for any conversation, and don’t shy away from it,” Officer Nelson encourages. “These are opportunities to really talk with your residents. Use it to your advantage and let them get to know you, not the uniform. Police are much more than that!”
- Collect feedback and follow up with residents. Officer Rich Cartwright of Kansas City Police Department has utilized Nextdoor to collect participant feedback following the department’s Coffee with a Cop events. By using polls, he learned that residents prefer weekdays to weekends, and early evenings to early mornings. Helpful replies also helped police determine the topic of conversation that residents are open to discussing, ranging from low-income housing, narcotics, and highway control through joint partnerships.
Captain Kamran Afzal of the Arlington Police Department, a seasoned Coffee with a Cop organizer, says that “the best thing about this event is that it shows the community that we’re just like them.” So today, make sure to share a sip with your neighborhood police officers.
Do you have a story about how you’ve used Nextdoor in your neighborhood? Let us know.