With nearly a dozen patrol cars parked outside the Chick-fil-A on the morning of Aug. 3, commuters on County Line Road might have wondered if something might be wrong at the restaurant, but inside, all was well. Residents, officers from the Lone Tree Police Department, and even a couple of city council members gathered for informal conversations, discussions, and a cup of Coffee with a Cop.
The Lone Tree Police Department began holding the Coffee with a Cop events last September, and the intent of the program is to allow citizens to meet local police officers in an “informal, neutral space to discuss community issues, to build relationships, and to drink coffee.”
Chick-fil-A franchise owner Doug Jacobson hosted the event at his County Line Road location because he is concerned about what is going on in the country and felt that it was important for people to get to know the officers working in the community.
“We are all about the blue,” Jacobson said.
Monique Boeckner brought her 7-year-old son Brennen and 4-year-old daughter from Aurora for the event. They colored pictures and wrote letters to the officers thanking them for their service before dashing off to the restaurant's play area.
“With everything going on this summer, I wanted to show the kids that police officers are safe, and they are here to help us, not to hurt us,” Boeckner said.
Coffee with A Cop was launched in 2011 by officers of the Hawthorne, California, police department as a way to improve relationships with the community through positive interactions. Today, police departments in all 50 states host Coffee with a Cop events, including local departments in Parker, Castle Rock and Colorado Springs.
Coffee with a Cop is one of several programs offered by the Lone Tree Police Department's Community Partnership Program, which performs general outreach as well as assisting with community policing.
The unit works to facilitate Neighborhood Watch programs and designates individual liaison officers to attend homeowner's association meetings to answer questions and address concerns.
It also hosts the Lone Tree Citizens Police Academy, which gives residents the opportunity to interact with local officers, investigate a mock crime scene and drive a patrol car.
The Citizens Academy is open to individuals 18 and older, and all applicants must pass a criminal background check. Applications for this fall's class must be received by Aug. 19 at 5 pm.
Find out more information about the department's Community Partnership Program or the Citizens Police Academy at www.cityoflonetree.com/news