Coffee with a Cop
By Erin Dixon
Draper - Four times a year, Draper City Police Officers get together in a public place to chat with anyone who comes by. Draper officers have been hosting “Coffee with a Cop” since February 2014. Their goal is to build rapport with the community and to show that there is a “person behind the badge,” Sergeant Coe said.
In November, the event was hosted by Food for Thought, a small cafe on Fort Street. The event’s location changes, sometimes at Smiths, others at Harmons. The events are usually on Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Law enforcement is not a highly paid position, so the officers say that their service is personally motivated.
“I used to be in the military and wanted to continue that service to the country,” Officer Thaller said.
Recent events, such as the death of Sergeant Derek Johnson in 2013, and other national stories involving the police force that have dominated the news have motivated the Draper force to “strengthen ties in the community,” Detective Barnes said.
At a recent gathering hosted by the police force in July, a ‘BBQ with a Cop’, several hundred people came for the chance to talk with an officer. The officers take time from their usual time off to come to an event, just for the chance to get to know the residents.
Thaller said that sometimes people have negative reactions to them during the events and can be confrontational, but the majority will stop just to say “thank you.” People will ask questions about local construction, how to manage social media for their children or ways to prevent burglaries. Sometimes they will even talk about football.
The event happens four times a year, and announcements are posted on the Draper City calendar, as well as on the Facebook pages for Draper City and Draper City Police Department. Watch for future events by visiting www.draper.ut.us