MINT HILL, NC – On the evening of August 17, the Mint Hill Police Department held “Coffee with a Cop” in two different locations.
From 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Mint Hill Roasting Company welcomed about 12 members of the community to speak to Chief Hatley and several other officers. Lieutenant Gilman also spoke to several young people about the Mint Hill Police Explorers Program.
From 6:30 to 7:30 pm, the officers moved to the Versage neighborhood, where residents were able to speak to the Chief and other officers about any concerns they had. About 15 residents came to the event hosted at the Versage Clubhouse.
A national program launched in California in 2011, Coffee with a Cop aims to break down barriers between law enforcement and the public by providing opportunities for the two to interact outside of the crisis situations that typically bring the public into contact with the police. Ultimately, the goal is to improve trust and build relationships.
Coffee with a Cop isn’t new to Mint Hill, but the time and format of Tuesday’s program are. “Historically the meetings were around 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning, which I felt was not practical,” said Chief Hatley. “We are field testing having them at various times of the day to include the afternoons where more can attend after they get off work.”
Relatively new to the role of Chief (Hatley took over for former Chief Tim Ledford in January of 2021), Hatley has prioritized fostering engagement with the community, including getting officers out into the neighborhoods they serve. “It’s merely about sitting down and enjoying the company of one another,” Hatley says of Coffee with a Cop. “It’s about letting the public know we as law enforcement are just like them. We get to interact and learn what issues they might be having and discuss how their police department will work towards a resolution.”