Topekans and officers chat over coffee

Daily dose: Topeka residents Bernice Tiekint and Darb Burgen chat with Topeka Police Department officer Koch. They enjoyed a cup of coffee and some cookies while they spoke. 

Alyssa Storm, Washburn Review Editor in Chief

Officers from local law enforcement were able to have a chat over coffee with members of the community at PT’s Coffee at College Hill.

Coffee with a Cop is a monthly event in Topeka taking place at local businesses. The latest event took place 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20. Topekans visiting PT’s coffee at the corner of 17th and Washburn received a discount on a cup of coffee on a rainy day, while engaging in conversation with members from the Topeka Police Department and the Washburn University Police Department. These events are public and provide an opportunity to converse with officers in a open setting.

“It is just an opportunity to interact with the general public, without it being a car accident or a 911 call,” said Sergeant Dan Wilson from the Topeka Police Department.

TPD and WUPO has met with the Washburn basketball and football teams to make them feel safer and show them they have one more option available if they ever see or get into any trouble.

“We have been in contact with them, so that when they may not want to call their coach, they might not want to call mom and dad, they might call us,” said Wilson.

Sergeant Anthony Escalante thinks interactions like these are beneficial to both the departments and community, including students. After the tragedies that occurred last year, it is more useful for the police and students on campus to have a good connection. 

“You see that we’re people and humans also,” said Escalante. 

Coffee with a Cop was made to see TPD and WUPO in a natural setting, which is what WUPO wants campus to be like. They don’t try to seem intimidating, they want to be approachable and have conversations with you.

“If anybody wants to come and visit with us, sit and have a sandwich with us or drink a cup of coffee, we could do that any day of the week,” said Escalante. 

There were signs up all around campus telling students about coffee with a cop, but it wasn’t known to everyone in PT’s coffee.

“I had no clue what was happening,” said Freshman Steven Genzel, a business major. “Them coming up and talking to us, them engaging with us and talking with us and being social.”  

The Topeka police department desires to connect with the community they serve, and Coffee with a Cop is one way to do that. 

“Chief Cochran, from the Topeka police department, has this vision that the department will go out into the community, work with community members from the ground up to build relationships, make the community feel safer, be more willing to work with law enforcement, general concerns, and feel more comfortable mingling with us,” said Steve Roth from the Topeka Police Department. 

If you are interested in becoming a cop, have concerns that you want addressed or are interested in learning more about the Topeka Police Department or police in general, one of these events will definitely provide an opportunity to do so.

Edited by Adam White, Jackson Woods