Coffee with a Cop
In 2011, Hawthorne Police Department, in Hawthorne, California, wanted to find a way to break through the barriers that had been built over time between the police force and the community. For thirty years or more police departments focused much of their resources in community policing initiatives, but somehow forgot to include the community. Hawthorne found that shifting demographics, more commuters and the introduction to websites and social media had created a disconnect. So the Hawthorne Police Department came up with a simple plan, put some coffee out, and bring the officers in with community members, and let them just have a cup of coffee together. Conversations started and a dialog was created. Has it solved all of the problems? No but it is a start.
We at Ashland wanted to do something more. We had some community outreach programs, but we were still hitting brick walls at times. We wanted to find a way to reach the community. I wanted a way for my guys to know the people that they were serving day in and day out.
We have had the “Yellow Dot” program that was started by the state which references the “Golden Hour” of medical personnel. We provide you a yellow folder that has medical information about prescriptions, allergies, and other information that could help in treatment. This folder has your picture and next of kin information as well. We give you a yellow dot to put on your window, and first responders know to look for that folder when they see that “Yellow Dot”. All of the information you put in the folder is yours we do not keep it, the only thing is we put your name down on a sign in sheet and that is all.
Another program we are working to get off of the ground is our “Someone Cares” program. There are similar programs in other areas, but this one was started by our former Chief, Benny Davis, to address the people who might not have someone local to check on them. We have a short form for you or a family member to fill out, and once we have it your name will be added to our list. What we will do is during the day our dispatcher on duty will call each person on this list, and if you answer the phone we will have a short conversation with you and make sure that you are ok. If you do not answer or do answer and sound in distress an officer will be dispatched to your house for a welfare check on you or your family member. This is to make sure that there isn’t a medical emergency in progress and that person doesn’t need immediate medical attention.
We are always looking for more ways that we can connect and reach our community. We have had an active Facebook page for several years now, and recently unveiled our website that many of you have used to glean more information about our department. We are looking at more ways to do this through smart phone apps and other tools, but this year we are featuring the Coffee with a Cop Day. On Wednesday, October 3, 2018, from 9 am until 12 pm at the Wynn Building in Ashland we will be hosting our very first Coffee with a Cop day where people can come and get to know our officers, but also to address concerns about criminal activity in our City and surrounding areas. We welcome all to come and attend this meeting, as we will have fresh coffee, pastries, and other refreshments, and will offer the opportunity to sign up for the “Yellow Dot” program as well as the “Someone Cares” program. There will be plenty of information there for those programs and the other things we do within the department. We look forward to seeing you there and hope that each of you comes prepared to sit and stay a while. #coffeewithacop #ashlandalpd #weloveourcommunity