Police in Kent encourage open communication with students and citizens

Olivia Boris

On Wednesday October 3rd, campus police and the City of Kent Police hosted Coffee with a Cop event to encourage open communication and positive interactions between law enforcement and the public. This year is first year that Kent has hosted this event on National Coffee with a Cop Day.

Campus Police hosted this event at the Starbucks attached to the Business Building on campus. Students who attended interacted and spoke freely to the campus police and were given a free coffee mug. KSU Police Department Community Resource Officer Tricia Knoles explains, “the main objective is to get to know our community (students, faculty, and staff) and to have our community get to know us in a fun and friendly atmosphere.”

About 200 people attended the event which Knoles considered to be successful. “We had the opportunity to engage with a lot of our community today,” Knoles said.

“My favorite part is talking and laughing with our students, faculty, and staff. Also, being able to give them a free cup of coffee in a really nice travel mug is fun as well. All in all, we had a lot of fun today,” Knoles said.

Ruth Amadio, a Kent State sophomore who attended the event, enjoyed being there because she learned that “cops are super approachable and normal people.” Amadio claims she would be very likely to come back if the event were ever held again.

The City of Kent Police hosted their event at Tree City Coffee downtown Kent. Administrative Lieutenant with the City of Kent Police, Michael Lewis said their main objective of their event was communication.  “We want to create a comfortable setting where people can approach us and have a casual conversation over a cup of coffee,” Lewis said. “No agenda, just chat.”

Lewis explains, his favorite part of the event is the simplicity.

“We sometimes go to some elaborate measures to find creative new ways for police officers to better communicate and relate to the residents and students of Kent,” Lewis said “This is such a simple approach that just works.”

Lewis also considered the event to be successful.

“It’s not always about big numbers,” Lewis said. “It’s about being comfortable having a conversation with one another. The setting figuratively disarms everyone in a way.”

Both Knoles and Lewis plan to host this event again, in the future.

“We will be having another Coffee with a Cop in the Spring,” Knoles said. “Follow us on our Facebook page ‘Kent State Police Department’ to keep up with all of our events, contests, etc.” 

“We will definitely continue this program,” Lewis said. “Mike Beder and Tree City Coffee have been so great to partner with, and we are looking to include new businesses in other parts of town to include more people.”

Olivia Boris is a Safety Reporter. Contact her at [email protected].