Newburgh customers had the opportunity to try coffee, for free, from 2 Alices, Rob’s Roast Coffees, Blacc Vanilla, and Newburgh Flour Shop during the inaugural Coffee with a Cop event.
The event was hosted by the City of Newburgh Police Department and took place on Wednesday, Oct. 6. Coffee with a Cop is a police engagement event that invites all members of the community to come, meet and speak with police officers from their respective town or city.
The official Coffee with a Cop website states that the event first launched in 2011 in the Hawthorne Police Department in California. The website also states that the Coffee with a Cop event currently spans across all 50 states and several countries, officially taking place on the first Wednesday of October each year.
In recent months, the City of Newburgh has welcomed the new chief of police, Anthony Geraci and the new police commissioner, Jose Gomerez to the department.
“We’ve been here for less than 40 days and it’s been a great experience so far,” Geraci said. “Everyone has really embraced the two of us.” For Geraci, his career in law enforcement spans over two decades.
During the course of his career, Geraci has carried a phrase with him that he adapts into his work: “move from certainty to curiosity.” This phrase for him means that conversations should be started with those you may not know and learning more about the person is more important than preconceived ideas or preconceptions. For the law enforcement in the city, Geraci encourages officers to start those conversations, creating more unity than division.
In the last several years, the Black Lives Matter movement and other incidents with police have created a variety of perspectives and division between police and their communities. With body cameras and procedures, officers are thrust into the public spotlight. Officers in the Newburgh department hope to create more positive relationships with community members.
Lt. Joseph Burns, a 17 year member of the city police department, believes breaking down the barriers between the police and community, creating trust and being open minded in this profession (policing) is the goal of the event. “If it’s something police related we can talk about that. If it’s something in a specific area of the community that they need to address we can do that,” Burns said. “There’s always things that we can improve on.”
Lt. Brandon Rola is a 14 year police officer in the city. During the course of last year with the various protests and riots across the country, Rola recollects the protests, rallies and marches that directly occurred in the city and worked closely with the organizers and other members of the community to keep them safe.