Officers from Texas A&M’s University Police Department will be in the MSC on Wednesday morning from 9 to 11 to drink coffee and speak with students, faculty and staff.
During “Coffee with a Cop,” all are welcome to ask any questions to the officers, address concerns about campus safety and get to know the employees of UPD, said Lt. Bobby Richardson.
“We’ll have coffee and some pastries out,” Richardson said. “We try to do this three times a semester, and we just encourage the students to stop by and visit with us, just to build those relationships and talk about any problems they have on campus.”
Richardson said this event is one of his favorites that UPD does because it brings people on campus together.
“Coffee with a Cop is probably one of my favorite events to go to,” Richardson said. “It’s just a relaxed environment, and it’s interaction with the faculty, staff and students, and the community we serve.”
Richardson said that even if the students there do not have any safety concerns that they want to address, it is still beneficial to get to know the officers and build a relationship.
“Sometimes the conversation we end up talking about is Aggie sports or Aggies football, just general conversations,” Richardson said. “A lot of us here at the police department are former students.”
Officer Mario Gutierrez was a student when he first attended Coffee with a Cop and said that he really enjoyed the event back then.
“It was cool,” Gutierrez said. “I got to find out what they actually did. It was really awesome to be able to engage with the law enforcement, and to know what they offer.”
As an officer, Gutierrez said that his experience at Coffee with a Cop has changed, in that he now has the opportunity to teach students about his job as an officer.
“It’s been really cool to talk with students, inform them about the laws, and get their opinion on what they see, and their position as students and their position as society,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez said that he thinks this event is very helpful for UPD and student relations, because it gives the students a chance to ask their questions, and gives the officers ideas on how to best serve the community.
“Really what’s going to make a community grow, specifically the A&M community, is friendship and being able to trust each Aggie that you’re connected to,” Gutierrez said. “So I think this enables law enforcement to really get to know who we’re serving.”
Communication junior Emily Thompson attended Coffee with a Cop in the past and said the information she received there helped her roommate find internship opportunities.
“I was studying at the library and grabbed a cup of coffee,” Thompson said. “The cop asked me how my day was going and we started chatting. I told him that my roommate was interested in criminal justice and that she was looking for an internship. He gave me his business card and I told my roommate about it. She jumped at the opportunity and a year later, she has an amazing internship with them that she loves.”
Richardson said even if the opportunity to speak with cops might not appeal to some, he knows that there is one thing that college students can never say no to: free stuff.
“We’re offering free coffee and food,” Richardson said. “Every college student needs that, especially early in the morning on the way to class.”