Community leaders, residents and various members of the Culver City Police Department gathered for the second ever Coffee with a Cop event at the historical Culver Hotel on Wednesday, April 16.
“This is just one of our many efforts to reach out and get together with the community and give the residents an opportunity, in a relaxed environment, to interact with us,” Captain Allen Azran said. “So we will answer questions and hope to make them (public) feel comfortable approaching a police officer. We figure this setting would help break the ice and make people a kittle more comfortable speaking to us.”
Hosted at the iconic Culver Hotel, which provided the coffee and continental, this year’s Coffee with a Cop was looked forward to with much anticipation by the department after kicking off the event in December of 2013.
“During the first one we had a great response,” Captain Azran said. “It is just a really nice opportunity for people to come in and get to know us and ask us questions while keeping it very casual.”
The Culver Hotel, which opened its doors in 1924, decades later continues to be a string presence in the community and has earned a reputation for working together with other city entities.
“We are very appreciative of the Culver Hotel, they sponsored the coffee and continental breakfast,” Captain Azran said. “They have shown to be an outstanding business partner and we appreciate what they do as well.”
The program Coffee with a Cop was developed by the not-so-far-away Hawthorne Police Department several years ago with one simple concept: to have police and community members gather in an informal, neutral space to discuss community issues, build relationships and drink coffee.
“This program was developed by them (Hawthorne Police Department) and they actually put on training for police departments all over the country,” Captain Azran said. “So members of our police department attended the Coffee with a Cop training. The class teaches, in essence, other police departments how to put on one of these events.”
With more than 175 cities and towns in 36 states hosting Coffee with a Cop events, there have been strong partnerships developed between law enforcement agencies and the communities that they serve.
By removing the physical barriers and crisis situations that usually separate the community and its local police department, Coffee with a Cop has garnered success across the country.
“Now Coffee with a cop has a website where you can register your event,” Captain Azran said.