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The relationship between authority figures and civilians, in various parts of the world, can be quite complicated. In the news we often see discord between citizens and police, and of people attacked or murdered by those who should play the role of protecting society. The other side of the coin, one that is not frequently considered but that is also common are attacks against the police. According to the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Program, 7 officers were feloniously killed in Florida in 2021.
This discord and feelings of mistrust, and even fear, of the population towards the police is real. This view is very one-sided and can be exacerbated by the frequent negative media coverage, that frequently fails to consider all the facets of police work, including all the good they do each and every day. The work of law enforcement officers goes beyond arresting criminals. Nevertheless, public mistrust coupled with the lack of knowledge about the varying roles that police play creates a large gap between the those same officers and the public they were sworn to protect and serve.
In order to bridge that gap and help the public better understand what the police does and create a partnership between the law and society, Coffee with a Cop was created.
In the video below, Deputy Omar Osbourne explains the reason behind the Coffee with a Cop initiative:
Most people interact with the police officers in contentious situations. That does not necessarily make for the ideal context in which to cement a relationship. A few cops in Hawthorne, California were aware of this and wanted to find ways to connect with the public on a different level and in a more positive context. As a result, Coffee with a Cop was created.
The plan was simple but yet an effective way for officers to connect with the public. The idea of Coffee with a Cop caught on and now is held in all 50 states. According to the CoffeeWithACop.com it is one of the most successful events when it comes to bringing together cops and the community.
So it should come as no surprise that in Oakland Park Coffee with a Cop was an event that resounded loudly within our little City.
In our community, Oakland Park BSO held coffee with a cop first at the Kiwanis Wednesday meeting and then at Oakland Coffee and Juice Bar.
Kiwanis Club members were happy to interact with the officers, many of whom, they already know. One member was especially thankful for the Krispy Kreme donuts! After the Kiwanis meeting BSO headed to Oakland Coffee and Juice Bar.
BSO set up a tent in the parking lot of the Juice bar and many residents stopped in for a chat. Some thanked the office for their service while others shared their concerns.
Captain of the Oakland Park District, Capt. Tammy McNeal was at the event and shared the following: “I think it’s a fantastic event. It’s a great way for us to reach out and show the community how much we appreciate them, and it’s nice to hear the feedback of our supporters and… hearing some of the issues that residents don’t normally come forward and may not reach out to us for it really helps us bridge the gap“.
Interactions between BSO and residents throughout the morning was overwhelmingly positive. It was clear that the idea of bringing the community together in this simple but meaningful event was achieving its goal of bridging the gap between cops and the community they serve.
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Désirée Ávila EDITOR, PUBLISHER, WRITER, PHOTOGRAPHER, REALTOR® Désirée Ávila has called Oakland Park her home for over 35 years. In addition to publishing LivingInOaklandPark.com, Désirée has been featured in print publications, locally and abroad. Désirée was an award winning teacher for 10 years and has a doctoral level education in Educational Technology. She is currently a licensed Florida REALTOR® and is committed to a high-level of professionalism. Désirée consistently professionally develops herself and has earned several different professional designations and certifications in real estate including the GRI, PSA, e-Pro, AHWD, SRS, ABR®, SRES and SFR®. She was also awarded the C2EX, Commitment to Excellence award by the National Association for Realtors (NAR). This award is given to REALTORS® that distinguish themselves for their commitment to excellence in the real estate industry. She is esteemed by her real estate colleagues and has consistently received 5 star reviews from her clients. Her philosophy about real estate is that being a REALTOR® is a way of teaching and helping people, and in the process a real estate transaction may occur, that is to say her foremost priority is and has always been about helping others. She is dedicated to her hometown of Oakland Park and works consistently on building and fostering a strong community. She is passionate about photography and loves to read books about history ; the more detail the better! In addition to English, Désirée is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian.
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