Whataburger, police department hold Coffee With A Cop
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Sixteen officers with the Copperas Cove Police Department converged on the Copperas Cove Whataburger on Wednesday morning, but it wasn’t because of a call for help.
Instead, those officers stayed a while and spent two hours visiting and having coffee with local residents who came out to the first-ever “Coffee With A Cop” held in Copperas Cove.
“Before we were invited by Whataburger, we were talking about doing something like Coffee With a Cop. Then, I got the invitation from the area director,” said Sgt. Martin Ruiz with the Copperas Cove Police Department. “I never knew there was such a thing as National Coffee With A Cop Day, but there is.”
Ruiz said as soon as the department learned about what Whataburger wanted to do, they were all on board with the idea.
“This was something we’d been talking about doing, because it gives our officers a chance to get to know members of the community, and they get to know the police officers who are out there working for them,” Ruiz said.
Whataburger provided the coffee at no charge, along with doughnuts and a sampling of the store’s cinnamon rolls.
Cathy Stockman was one of those who came out to have coffee and have breakfast as well. She is already acquainted with many of the officers, as she is a member of the Citizens Fire and Public Safety Volunteers Association.
“We’re here to mingle with the officers. We don’t normally get a chance to see this many at once,” said Stockman. One of her group’s missions is helping fill the gaps in funding for the city’s first responders, like purchasing a new camera and a printer for the department’s criminal investigation division. She sees events like Wednesday’s as a positive thing, coupled with her volunteer work in the past.
“You get to see them in a different light than you would if you got pulled over and got a ticket. We’re all human,” Stockman said.
Spending time with the officers lets others see beyond the badge.
“They’re just like us, but they wear a uniform,” said Stockman.
For a first-time event like this, Ruiz said he was pleased with the number of residents who showed up, with approximately 40 community members stopping by. This won’t be the department’s last event like this, either.
“We talked about it, and maybe we’ll do it every quarter, or three times a year,” Ruiz said. “This was a really good turnout for our first one.”
The first gathering of what became the annual Coffee with A Cop took place at the police department in Hawthorne, Cal. in 2011, when members of the department were thinking of ways to have more positive interactions with the citizens they served. The movement grew to reach all 50 states within the first five years and has even expanded to Canada, Europe, Australia, and Africa.
In Central Texas, in addition to Copperas Cove, the cities of Temple and Waco also held events on Wednesday at Whataburger.