The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Sunday June 4th

Coffee with a Cop promotes interaction

Police officers are widely pegged for their love of coffee and doughnuts, but now that cup of coffee comes with a conversation instead.

Each month, the local police departments host an event called Coffee with a Cop. The event is self-explanatory — for a couple of hours, citizens can sit down for a cup of coffee and speak with officers about issues in their town.


Both the Chapel Hill and Carrboro police departments hold Coffee with a Cop events throughout the year.

  • The Carrboro Police event will be on Saturday at the Looking Glass Cafe.
  • The Chapel Hill Police event will be on Sept. 19 at the Franklin Street Starbucks

“We work for the people who live in this community, and it’s important for us to understand their expectations, and it’s important for them to understand what we do, so that happens best through direct communication with them,” said Lt. Joshua Mecimore, a spokesman for the Chapel Hill Police Department. 

The Carrboro Police Department will host its Coffee with a Cop event Saturday at The Looking Glass Cafe, and the Chapel Hill Police Department will host its event on Sept. 19 at Starbucks on Franklin Street. 

But Mecimore said no matter which event residents attend, officers from both stations, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the UNC Department of Public Safety, are represented.

Sgt. Nate Chambers, who arranges Coffee with a Cop for Chapel Hill Police, said the event is designed to encourage a dialogue among law enforcement and the residents they serve.

“We want to get that relationship built, so when you see me on the street you can say, ‘Oh, that’s Sgt. Chambers. I’ve talked to him,’” he said. “A lot of times people might see us out making arrests or stopping a car, and sometimes you might just see us at breakfast, but a lot of people don’t feel comfortable coming up to us and interrupting us. But we don’t mind those things, so Coffee with a Cop helps with that.”

UNC senior Otis Skipper said he had a positive experience attending Coffee with a Cop. 

“One was in uniform, and one wasn’t, so it was kind of like we just get to sit here and have a conversation,” Skipper said. “We even talked about the recent issues of police brutality that are going on and about how most interactions you see on social media are the bad one percent, and a lot of times the police are dealing with the things you don’t see, like a stolen bike report.”

Chambers said the open and relaxed atmosphere of Coffee with a Cop lends to its success, adding the program is not only beneficial to residents but also to his fellow officers.

“They always come to me asking when we’re going to have our next Coffee with a Cop,” he said with a laugh. “They like talking with people, believe it or not. They come to me all the time because they want to show up, and they want to talk with people.”

UNC senior Jack Largess, who has not attended Coffee with a Cop before, said the program could potentially help to build bridges between law enforcement and residents. 

“I feel like most police officers would tell you that they want to be a part of the community, and they’re there to serve the community not just police people — at least that’s what they’d say,” Largess said. “I think it’d be really nice to have the opportunity to have them prove that to me or demonstrate it.”

Largess added the program could also help challenge traditional ideas many maintain about police officers, saying as a white male his relationship with officers varies from what others might experience.

“I think my impression on this whole thing is very different than a woman of color, white woman or a man of color, but I think it would benefit anyone,” he said.


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