P.A.R.C. Mag Issue #8 - Page 54

P.A.R.C. Mag: What do you find is the most difficult challenge with the program? Have you had any resistance with the communities that you serve or other police departments not willing to participate in the program?

Sgt. Cognac: "Sometimes you have different philosophies and you have generational philosophies within law enforcement. In terms of engagement, unlearning some of those have definitely been growing pains. A lot of that has been trying to educate people and police on how this is and a lot of people say well let's do a town hall meeting. We are anti-town hall meetings. We are everything a town hall meeting is not. And the reason why we're successful is because we make it pretty simple. We've never really gotten any resistance with it, but we don't force anything on anyone. If someone doesn't want to participate that's fine. It (Coffee With A Cop) may fit your police department now or it may fit two years from now."

P.A.R.C. Mag: What kinds of events have you participated in? What was your most memorable event and why?

Sgt. Cognac: "There have been thousands upon thousands of Coffee With A Cop events. The Coffee With A Cop National Day some of which we put together in three weeks we were able to have 600 simultaneous events across the US and Canada. Including 20 in the city of Chicago. That was the first time that the Chicago Police have ever participated. It is definitely a huge step for Chicago."

"One of my favorites is when we were in Evansville, Indiana. Their police department is very progressive and they had the morning radio show there. We were live from a place called the Donut Bank, I thought that was great. There were police and citizens and it was wonderful. I thought was really neat and a really great way to engage the community. Also,l we were in Salem, Oregon and we had a really wonderful event there as well. We've never had an event there before and it was great to see people come out who've never talked to police officers and we get a lot of that. A lot of police officers don't realize that there are many people that have never spoken to police officers."

"Another event I can recall is when we were in Hawaii. Hawaii is one of the later states to join Coffee With A Cop a little less than a year ago. The program has become so popular in Hawaii that they literally do it every two weeks, and it had spread to all of the other Hawaiian islands and it has been great. Honolulu is a city of approximately 2 million people and many have the same issues that every other major city has. They had engagement issues and they had things that they needed to work on. They were initially reluctant with the program, but it all worked so wonderfully, that now they are one of the leaders of the Coffee With A Cop Program."

P.A.R.C. Mag: What do you ultimately hope to accomplish in the future? What do you envision as complete success as it pertains to Coffee with A Cop?

Sgt. Cognac: "As it pertains to events it depends on the jurisdiction. If the department has 20 officers maybe they could do it twice a year. We have a city of about 100,000 people, so we try to do it every quarter. In a different part of the city, for example, San Francisco does it monthly. Many popular cities may do it monthly because they're large. Some of the smaller cities don't need to do it as much because they have more contact with their citizens. So it really depends on the size."

"I see Coffee With A Cop going globally and making a difference in distressed countries and distressed cities in America, where there is a lack of trust and we have many of those. Coffee with a cop has affected a lot of positive change. I keep in contact with a lot of those agencies and they've grown. An example is Pascoe, Washington which has done a lot with Coffee With A Cop, and they do a great job. They had many citizens that had trust issues, riots, and things like that. They started participating in the program and some other great things on social media, now their citizen engagement is huge, they have public trust and it is amazing. If the police and citizens are humanized you can build so much public trust."