Police officers connect with community during National Coffee with a Cop Day

Several diners in Aiea had special guests join them at their table.

Police officers were at Big City Diner Wednesday morning as part of National Coffee with a Cop Day.

The goal is to encourage community policing by improving relationships between police officers and community members, one cup of coffee at a time.

“I think it’s really important to build relationships with the community, and if they can work with the police to solve problems, that’s more effective than doing enforcement. Enforcement is just like a band-aid, and crime is actually a symptom of a bigger problem,” said police officer Kaipo Paiva. “Who else knows the answers better than the community people who live there in the areas? When we hear from them, issuing tickets might just solve a problem, but in actuality, it could be a different issue. So we’d like to get feedback from community members and create partnerships, whether it looks like neighborhood security watches, citizens patrol groups, whether it is going to schools to talk to kids, whether it’s going into kupuna housing and talk with them, this is a great way to start off the conversation and to start up a healthy relationship with the community.”

Events also took place in Ward, Mililani, Windward Oahu, Salt Lake, Waikiki, Aina Haina, and Kapolei.

Coffee with a Cop was established in 2011 in Hawthorne, Calif. Since then, it has reached thousands of communities in the U.S. and abroad.

If you’re interested in participating in the Honolulu Police Department’s Coffee with a Cop program, you can fill out an online form here.

Hawaii Police Department officers also took part in National Coffee with a Cop Day with events in Hilo, Waimea, Honokaa, Volcano, and Kailua-Kona.

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