Laramie Police Department is fighting something other than crime- distant ties with the community. They aren’t using tickets or tasers, but coffee.

On Wednesday Oct. 3rd, LPD and two local coffee shops introduced a new program called Coffee With Cops.

 

There was free coffee at Starbucks and the uptown Coal Creek for anyone wanting to come in and have a conversation with a police officer in a relaxed environment. The purpose was to provide a safe place for dialogue. Many interactions with police officers happen during tense moments. These situations also tend to happen too quickly for any sort of casual conversation or questions.

 

The solution: Coffee With Cops. Officers were present all morning to just answer questions and talk to people. The ultimate goal was to strengthen community ties and clear up any misconceptions about Laramies police force. No specific group was targeted, they were happy to speak with anyone who had something to say.

 

“We’re not here for any single group of people. We want to open up dialogue with as many citizens as we can,” said officer Louis Cirilo.

 

LPD wanted to not only answer any questions people had, but make it clear that they’re just human beings who want to help civilians out any way they can.

“We want everyone to know that we are people too. We aren’t super men and women. We came from the communities we serve,” Cirilo said.

 

Rifts between citizens and law enforcement have been a theme for America in recent years. Many people believe that police officers are violent and aggressive, but stats show that police brutality and shootings are on the decline.

 

Despite those statistics, American media paints a very ugly picture of law enforcement in the country. Majority of stories about police officers have a negative connotation. However, only 30% of Laramie High School students believe that the media provides an accurate portrayal of law enforcement. LPD officers believe that there are more positive interactions than negative ones.

 

“Only a tiny percent of interactions between officers and civilians are negative. And an even smaller percent of those interactions end with any sort of force- deadly or otherwise.” Cirilo said. However, statistics from Laramie High School students don’t match this statement.

 

At LHS, 58% of interviewed students report having been pulled over, ticketed, or questioned by law enforcement personnel. Unfortunately, only 55% of those students viewed the interaction as a positive one. The other 45% stated they had a negative interaction. Some believe the media is wrong about police, but there are still unsatisfactory positions with law enforcements from the American public.

 

It is statistics like this that prove the Laramie Community needs more programs like Coffee With Cops- to close rifts and create situations that are 100% positive.