Kibo Midnight Oil Coffeehouse (MO) hosted “Coffee with a Cop” with Searcy Police Department on Wednesday, Oct. 3. This was the first year for MO to host the event, and there were 15-20 different officers present including detectives, lieutenants as well as the chief and assistant chief of police.
The event began in Hawthorne, California, in 2011, but now all 50 states host Coffee with a Cop events, according to the Coffee with a Cop website.
This year Detective Spenser Dangerfield was able to participate in the event for the first time.
“At the beginning I could tell that people were nervous to talk to us, but once they came and spoke with us, we were able to have normal conversation,” Dangerfield said. “I really enjoyed being able to talk to people and bridge the gap between us and them.”
Dangerfield said that having this event is a way to show the community that the police are here for the community and enjoy getting to serve and be a part of the Searcy community.
Coffee with a Cop is not just for the Searcy Police Department. Graeme Gastineau, MO employee who worked during the event, said he believes the event humanizes law enforcement in the city of Searcy and offers an opportunity to get to know the officers on a more personal level.
“I thought it was really cool to see a small local business like Midnight Oil reach out and open its doors to the community in order to facilitate conversations between the general public and law enforcement,” Gastineau said. “It’s a non-threatening environment, something we should try to emulate when having difficult conversations.”
The Coffee with a Cop website said the event was created to repair the relationship that has changed over time between the police and the community. Shifting demographics, more commuters and the introduction of different communication methods, such as websites and social media, have changed the composition of communities.
Alex Carlisle, a MO employee, also worked during the event.
“One thing that stood out to me was the willingness of the police officers to participate,” Carlisle said. “By participating, they were essentially opening themselves up, and that is difficult, no matter who you are or what job you do. Because I was behind the bar during the event, I enjoyed seeing all the customers who did go over and converse with the police officers.”