Brandon Coomar | Assistant News Editor
Across the country, the police department celebrated “Coffee with a Cop” day with their communities, as well as here at Old Dominion University.
This event was one of many that the police department has planned for the semester. It is dedicated to promoting communication and positive interactions between the public and law enforcement agencies.
Back in 2016, this event was originally part of the “National Community Policing Week” in Hawthorne, California. Due to positive reactions from that day, this specific event has moved on to be a nationally recognized tradition on the first Wednesday of October, in hopes of increasing positivity between the community and police.
The officers from the ODU Police Department met with some of the students at the university at the Starbucks in the Webb Center.
Officer Evans spent sufficient time engaging with students, as people began to settle and introduce themselves.
“Our goal for these events is to bridge the gap between the community and the department to promote better and healthy relationships”, said Evans, “To promote a better understanding of our roles and how the police here at ODU conduct their day-day jobs.”
The officer went on to further explain a much deeper purpose behind “Coffee with a Cop”, which was all about messaging, listening to the students about what ODUPD can do better, and concerns or just observations about what is going on.
“After we all work for you guys, in a sense, all of you are our bosses.” Evans explained.
For the rest of the event, every participant was given the opportunity to ask questions and was encouraged not to hold back on the content of the questions. For the most part, the questions were standard, like how the police prioritize which calls need the most attention at the moment, what to do in case of a bomb threat, and police protocols for those types of situations.
One concerned parent asked about the safety of their child that lives on campus and expressed how she was worried about them, especially when the child is walking around at night.
Officers answered each question with ease, displaying a straightforward honesty in regards to the potential dangers of being here or being off campus.
“Anytime we interact with our students, faculty staff members, we establish and answer what their concerns are and try to address them.” Evans reflected , “I feel good about it, I think we had positive interactions, a positive event.”
“We are planning our Unity Ride, which is biking with police officers for three miles, Pizza with a Cop event is still in the works and a few self-defense classes for women in the future.” Evans says, “These are all events we are trying to push-out, as well as trying to work with the various clubs, sororities, and fraternities around campus.”