CALEXICO – National Coffee Day was the perfect inspiration for Calexico residents to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee and great conversations with exceptional company during the Calexico Police Department’s Coffee with a Cop Tuesday evening at the Enrique Camarena Public Library.
Members of the community asked questions, voiced concerns, and learned police department operations in their city while becoming better acquainted with their chief of police, sergeant, lieutenant and police officers on a one to one basis.
“Community policing is about recognizing what the community wants us to solve in the world of the policing for their city, not just what we decide needs to be solved, ” said Michael Bostic, Calexico Chief of Police.
Coffee With A Cop is now a nationwide program developed by the Hawthorne Police Department whose purpose was to reach the community, break down barriers, and find ways to better serve residents. This was the first time the Calexico police department hosted the event.
“There are a lot of other things that bother people, like the transients, the homeless, and the unsafe drivers racing up and down the streets. This is a way to connect with the community and solve their problems,” added Bostic.
Round tables and chairs were placed throughout the library conference room creating a relaxed atmosphere.
“Everyone is sitting around having a conversation and expressing concerns. My cops don’t normally do that in the community,” said Bostic.
Twelve officers noted complaints and concerns they will follow-up with in a timely manner.
“I’m pregnant and due in two weeks. My question to officer Acuña was, if and when I go into labor, can the person taking me to the hospital speed?” asked Leslie Torrez, resident. “He suggested I call 911 to avoid accidents and getting me to the hospital safely.”
“I don’t know how to speak or read English and didn’t know what the parking time limit was in front of the park,” said Maria Mota in Spanish. “The information officer Acuña gave me was wonderful, not only to this question but several others.”
Adults weren’t the only ones who participated, children took the opportunity to take pictures and converse with the officers.
Ailany Dominguez, 10, arrived at the library after school at 1:00 p.m. and waited until 6:00 p.m. when the officers arrived.
“I was excited to see the cops and be the first to meet them,” said Ailany. “I wanted to have a cup of coffee and enjoy a cookie with one of them.”
Ailany met with Chief Bostic. “Not only did he answer my questions, but he also asked me how I was doing. I can’t wait to tell my friends tomorrow during school!”
“It’s always good to be approachable. Some citizens think we are some distant, non-human robotic person roaming their streets,” said officer Villapudua.
Villapudua said several parents expressed interest in their children becoming police explorers and inquired about requirements and procedures.
“Anytime you have a close contact with the community, it’s always a positive thing,” added Villapudua.
The Calexico Police Department is the second city in Imperial County who implemented the coffee klatch.
“We had a good turnout tonight. We sent out flyers and uploaded the information on Facebook to create awareness of this event,” said Lizeth Legaspi, Librarian, Enrique Camarena Library.
The event was hosted in conjunction with Starbucks Coffee who donated coffee for those who attended.