River Falls police invites you for a cup of Joe
Typically we see police officers in action -- at a crash, fire, handling a domestic or making a drunk driving arrest.
They’re enforcing laws and protecting the public. That’s their job.
Beyond contacts for such emergencies or emotionally charged situations, people seldom get the chance to talk casually with officers.
River Falls police are taking a small step to broaden that connection by starting monthly sessions called Coffee With a Cop.
The first one is 8 a.m. Friday, July 26, at Family Fresh, 303 S. Main St., in the supermarket’s corner café.
Coffee with a Cop is a trend that’s being tried elsewhere.
River Falls Patrol officer Ryan Miller read about it in a police magazine, he proposed the idea to Chief Roger Leque who eagerly accepted it.
Both will be at the first July 26 Coffee With a Cop at Family Fresh.
“I am excited to be part of this event,” Miller said. “I hope to get to know members of our community a little better and hope they get to know me.”
Said Leque: “Aside from the routine of daily calls, we’re always looking for opportunities for our staff to get involved with the community, to make ourselves available and approachable. It breaks down barriers.”
Leque and Miller say the settings to mingle are ideal because many groups gather around town for morning coffee.
Coffee With a Cop is strictly informal. While Miller will be in uniform, he will circulate from table to table, greet those who show up, perhaps sit with patrons, chat and answer questions, respond to concerns.
Family Fresh will provide a free cup of coffee for the occasion.
Miller said people are often curious about police work, their equipment, techniques and protocol.
Coffee With a Cop is the time to ask about policing, or maybe to point out a problem or a safety issue in a neighborhood or even one throughout the city.
Miller said he may take notes about what he hears. He promises to get back to people if he doesn’t have on-the-spot answers.
“We realize that crime prevention and solution to crimes relies on help that comes from the community,” Leque said.
Miller said the first Coffee With a Cop will probably last an hour, but that’s up to the public.
“Nothing says when it has to end,” he said. “It depends how busy we are.”
Other Coffee With a Cops will be scheduled each month at a different café or restaurant. Miller is finalizing those arrangements along with times and dates.
Depending on who is on duty, a different officer will host each monthly Coffee With a Cop. This way citizens become familiar and comfortable with more than just one officer.
Leque said using various host sites also get various local businesses involved.
“We’ll see how this idea goes,” he said. “It will surely evolve, depending on the public’s interest and response.”
Questions about Coffee With a Cop can be directed to Miller at 715-425-0909 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.