Have Coffee with a Cop from 8-10 a.m. Wednesday at The Local

Gillette police officer Zach Parker meets and greets the community at the 2019 Coffee with a Cop. (City of Gillette photo)

Ever wanted the chance to thank our law enforcement for laying their lives on the line every time they put on the uniform? How about the opportunity to ask questions about our hometown or laws?

The chance to interact with our local law enforcement on more of a personal level will be from 8-10 a.m. Wednesday at The Local with the annual Coffee with a Cop.  It’s a yearly event that has increased in popularity over the years with officers so often in the national headlines.

Members of the Gillette Police Department (GPD) will be on hand to connect with the community. The mission of the event is to break down the barriers between police officers and citizens in a setting where locals can ask questions, voice concerns, and get to know their neighborhood officers.

“We learned about this Coffee with a Cop today here at the courthouse while we were waiting for a meeting to start,” said Jeffrey Rodriguez, who said he, along with his wife and 5-year-old, plan on attending. “This is our first full year in Gillette, so I would like to meet and thank our police personally. I think it would also be good for (our son) Christo to shake their hands and see they are nice people. You don’t get that on TV.”

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Gillette Police officers Alan Stuber, left, and Andy Lucas mingle with the guests at Coffee with a Cop in 2019. Stuber helped make this program a reality locally four years ago. (City of Gillette photo)

Gillette officer Alan Stuber first introduced the idea for Coffee with a Cop to his department four years ago. He leads the local initiative where as many as two dozen officers could be available at any one time to meet, greet and ask questions of those protecting us.

So, guests making the trip to The Local for this third-annual event, don’t fear when you see multiple law enforcement vehicles outside of the coffee shop. It’s just our hometown men and women in blue who serve and protect excited to meet and greet.

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City of Gillette Communications Manager Geno Palazzari said Coffee with a Cop is an annual traveling event, meaning it is hosted at a different coffee shop each year to support our local businesses. Next year’s event will be at City Brew.

Coffee with a Cop is a grassroots project that was originally launched in California in 2011. It’s gained in popularity nationally and locally as it humanizes our heroes in uniform who often only make the news in instances of crime. In Campbell County, this has been a win-win situation as this friendly interaction has helped the bring the bond together between the community and police.

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The national program of Coffee with a Cop has now grown to all 50 states, as well as Canada, Europe, Australia and Africa. The deaths of George Floyd and nationwide suspects being apprehended by police in recent years have sparked protests and violence across the country.

Gillette police interact with the community at many other local events and sports, and the department maintains an active social media presence to keep our community informed. Coffee with a Cop was canceled last year because of COVID-19.

For more information, visit the City of Gillette Facebook page.