Coffee, doughnuts and University Police united for CSUF’s Coffee with a Cop on Sept. 10.
Students gathered outside of the humanities building between 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. for free refreshments and to interact with campus law enforcement.
Glock, the department’s explosive-detection K9, attended the event. According to his handler, Officer Matt Bauer, although Glock was in public relations mode, he knew that once the vest goes on, it is time to go to work.
Officer Bauer said Glock has opened a route for police officers to interact with students regardless of their views on law enforcement. Often the desire to pet him draws people in and conversations develop between Bauer and students, Bauer said.
University Police Capt. Scot Willey said when Coffee with a Cop started he did not know the influence that it would have on students. He was surprised at the amount of students that sparked conversations about a multitude of things.
“I’ve had sexual assault victims that have never reported their assault to anybody. I’ve had victims of domestic abuse. I’ve had stalking victims come up and talk to me and ask for advice.” Willey said.
Willey oversees the EPIC program, Encouraging a Positive and Interactive Community. Coffee with a Cop is one event held in those efforts.
“This is very different from us being out enforcing laws. If I am pulling you over for a traffic stop we are not going to have time to sit and talk about your concerns about policing. This allows that time,” said Willey.
CSUF student Ashley Ibarra said she is aware of the current media climate and accusations that some officers as prejudice. Ibarra said her conversation with the officers showed that they are just people as well.
There are some students that do not know the campus has its own police department that is why it is important for University Police to show students their presence on campus, Willey said.
The officers have their own police station on campus. 30 sworn police officers make up the CSUF police force along with motor patrol officers “that show up every once in a while,” according to Willey.
The department of humanities and social sciences partners with the university police to try and get students to interact and get involved in conversations said Carly Culhane, accountant of humanities and social sciences.
“I think that they are a great service to the community and are here to serve and protect. Our UPD specifically, have been great. They come out every month and interact with students (and) really try to get them to get involved in the conversation,” Culhane said.
Chief Raymond Aguirre said the event is a nationwide federally funded event that has been going on for a decade. Aguirre said it is a community building effort to improve safety awareness campus wide and to establish a partnership between campus police and the community so students feel comfortable approaching them.
Some students connect to officers and ask about their degrees, what it take to become a police officer and possible employment opportunities Aguirre said.
Willey said some students say they don’t like the cops where they live because “they are mean and prejudice.”
“I’ve had people come up and say ‘I don’t like police officers, but I appreciate that you guys are out here doing this, can I ask you a few questions?’ And we start having a really nice conversation,” Willey said.