Cup with a Cop connects Murray communities
Oct 21, 2019 03:37PM
● By Shaun Delliskave
Much like a scene from the Murray Police Department Lip Sync Challenge, Murray PD invites you to chill with them and your favorite beverage. (Photo courtesy of Murray City)
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
If you missed National Coffee with a Cop Day on Oct. 2, don’t worry; Murray Police Department has you covered. Murray City PD hosts monthly “Cup with a Cop” meetings, where residents are invited to support their local eatery and talk with a police officer. Yes, there might be doughnuts.
The program gives residents and business owners the opportunity to meet with local law enforcement officers about concerns and issues within Murray City as well as learn more about the importance of community-police relations.
“The first programs, state and nationwide, like this one, were originally called “Coffee with A Cop.” However, since not everyone drinks coffee, we realized that we should focus on local areas where people can patronize a business in our community, grab a favorite treat or choice of drink, sit down and visit. Coffee is not a requirement, and the options are many,” Lieutenant Mike Fernandez of the Murray PD Community Services Division said.
Many agencies nationwide have programs such as this that allow for a more open and friendly environment for interaction. Coffee with A Cop was launched in Hawthorne, California, in 2011. Officers from the Hawthorne Police Department were looking for ways to engage more successfully with the residents they served each day.
“We realized it would be a great asset to our community policing theories and started up the program this summer,” Fernandez said. “It has been very rewarding for those involved and gaining popularity ever since.”
In October, Murray police officers met at the Beans & Brews Coffeehouse (5938 S. State St.). It is a casual, relaxed setting where three to four officers gathered around several tables at the coffee shop.
“Since we are trying to keep barriers down and offer open communication, we tend to follow the lead of those who come to visit. Setting the tone and topics accordingly and addressing the concerns,” Fernandez said. “We want people to feel like they have an answer or feel good about the experience when they leave.”
“This is such a great way to get to know our Murray police. They are funny, informative and friendly,” President of the Murray Chamber of Commerce Stephanie Wright said.
Officers field crime-related questions like “What is the current crime rate of a particular neighborhood?” as well as general community questions, such as “What is going in on the old Hillcrest Junior High property?” (Answer: a hotel and assisted living center). Any question is fair game for the police officers.
“Honestly, it varies. We have had everything from informing us about parking problems to Neighborhood Watch questions. In general, we have many ‘why’ questions asked. We try to provide the best solutions and a positive approach to the many neighborhood and business community issues,” Fernandez said.
“Cup with a Cop” is just one program offered through the Murray Community Services Division. Other police events include targeted talks to community members — for example, a small business owner who needs help in establishing a simple loss-prevention program. The division can also consult with larger organizations about such things as best practices during an active shooter situation. During the summer, Murray PD co-hosts, with the Fire Department, a Health and Safety Fair in Murray Park.
These events, “…allow the community to reach out and collaborate with us. We listen to concerns that affect them directly and come up with timely solutions. We would be happy to sit down with them and see where we can help,” Fernandez said.
Murray Police Department updates its social media accounts with the monthly dates and locations of Cup with a Cop. Also, residents can go to Murray City’s website (murray.utah.gov) and check the community calendar or call Murray PD directly at (801) 264-2673.