‘Coffee with a Cop’ in South Pas

Breaking Down the Barriers Between Police Officers and the Citizens They Serve Program Designed to Create Bond Between Community and Police

In a way, the South Pasadena Police department is building relationships one cup at a time.
It seemed like that on Tuesday morning as officers met with community members to discuss key issues and important topics of the day.
“What better way to meet with people than in a nonthreatening manner over coffee?” asked South Pasadena Police Department Chief Art Miller, enjoying the interaction of those who attended the latest “Coffee with a Cop” get-together, this one held for two hours at Starbucks on Fair Oaks Avenue in the Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH) Shopping Center.
Miller likes to refer to “Coffee with a Cop” as an extension of community policing, a strategy that focuses on police building ties and working closely with members of local communities.
“It’s a great way to hear from people in a neutral environment where they can hopefully feel comfortable in asking us questions and bringing up concerns,” added Miller.
Three weeks ago, in conjunction with the 12th annual Cruz’n for Roses Hot Rod and Classic Car Show, both the local police and fire departments held an open house for residents to learn more about both organizations.
“I look at our Coffee with a Cop as an extension of that event,” he said. “People came in and toured our station and see how city government works from the city’s perspective.”
Joining Tuesday’s event was United States’ Attorney Eileen M. Decker, the chief federal law enforcement officer in the Central District of California. “This is another example of our small city doing big things,” explained Miller. “We’re really honored to have her.”
Tuesday’s “Coffee with a Cop” was the third for Miller in South Pasadena. “People are interesting,” he said. “Because they don’t know how to approach us. Maybe they’re not used to being around officers, and, quite frankly, people will say anytime they’re in contact with a police officer, it’s usually a negative situation. But that’s not true. For every suspect we arrest, there’s always a victim involved somewhere. For every program we put on, we reach out to the community. For every act we do, there’s always human interaction.”
A good way to foster the experience, insists the South Pasadena police chief, is through “Coffee with a Cop,” adding, “It’s just a wonderful thing.”
From police cadets, just getting involved in law enforcement, to the police chief, Miller says officers have in-depth knowledge on how the department functions, and enjoy talking to the public and being part of the community.
“I think people here are very fortunate to have our police department,” he said. “We do care about our community, whether you live here or are visiting us. Our officers like to meet the public.”
He said the department has a good response time to emergencies, investigates cases quickly and “provides an end product at a relatively cheap price with a good outcome for our customer, which could be anyone who does business in our city.”
Today, “Coffee with a Cop” events are held in more than 1,000 police departments around the world. “We’re really pleased that people come out to meet us and value our department.”

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