Chief Paul Williams of the Springfield Police Department began the monthly event, “Coffee with the Chief,” shortly after arriving in
Springfield from Tulsa, Oklahoma and taking the reigns as Chief of Police in 2010. He planned to do it for his first year as a way to get to know the citizens of Springfield and as a way to open lines of communication between the department and those it serves. At the end of the first year, Williams was encouraged by a former City Council member to continue “Coffee with the Chief indefinitely.” Six years later, Williams has met countless citizens over cups of Joe in a comfortable and informal setting nearly every month since the event’s inception.
A variety of community engagement events have surfaced across the nation in recent years, and Coffee with a Cop, which was launched in Hawthorne, California in 2011, began with a mission to improve trust and build relationships—one cup of coffee at a time.
The United States Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) has partnered with the Hawthorne Police Department to conduct the first national Coffee with a Cop day to be held on Friday, Oct. 7. In lieu of Williams’ traditional monthly event that includes making himself and a few SPD commanders available at one local shop, he has decided to change things up to expand the department’s reach in October and coincide with the national community engagement event.
[tweetthis]SPD to participate in national Coffee with a Cop #springfieldMO #localnews[/tweetthis]
From 7:30-8:30 a.m. on Oct. 7, multiple SPD officers will be available to meet and greet citizens at four different Springfield McDonald’s locations: 4101 S. Campbell, 1717 W. Battlefield, 234 S. National and 1114 W. Kearney.
“This new nationwide event gives us an opportunity to get more officers from SPD involved in this type of effort in our community,” said Williams. “Our officers stay so busy on a daily basis they don’t have the luxury of simply connecting with citizens on this level. We hope many of our citizens are able to join us on Friday, ask questions and get to know some of the people behind the badges.”