Poll results: Coffee with a Cop is an opportunity to talk about community concerns
In recognition of National Coffee with a Cop Day on Wednesday, Hawai‘i Island police held three events in Honoka‘a, Waimea and Kealakekua in an effort to have candid conversations with the community about their questions or concerns.
So how popular are these events? Does the public feel heard when they sit down with an officer over a cup of joe? In the latest poll, Big Island Now asked: Have you seen your concerns addressed after attending a Coffee with a Cop event?
Out of the 248 votes, 165 indicated they’d never been to a Coffee with a Cop. Forty-four people claimed they’d never seen concerns addressed after attending an event while 21 people voted they’d “definitely” seen change.
Another nine people voted they were still waiting for concerns to be addressed. The full results are below:
- I’ve never been to Coffee with a Cop. 165 (66%)
- Not once. 44 (17%)
- Definitely. 21 (8%)
- Still waiting. 9 (3%)
- Other. (Please explain with a comment.) 9 (3%)
Bett Bidleman wrote a comment saying her husband went to Coffee with a Cop on Wednesday. Three officers were there and four people from the community showed up.
Bidleman said her husband asked about what is being done about setting up evacuation route drills for disasters like wildfires. The concern was raised in the wake of the deadly Lāhainā wildfire in August where people were trapped in gridlock traffic as flames raged through the old Hawaiian fishing village.
“If communities want the police and civil defense to organize an evacuation system, they will have to push for it,” she stated. “The police should know where all the possible routes are for escape. Civil Defense needs to create a public plan.”
Bidleman went on to write that it was mostly old people who died in the West Maui blaze.
“If you’re 65 or older, you should insist on neighborhood drills so you have a better chance of survival,” she stated.
One social media commenter wrote they’ve attended many Coffee with Cop sessions with officers from the Kona Community policing section.
“They are about as chill as any officer can get,” the commenter wrote. “We normally talk story and have a good time.”
The commenter did indicate they never complain too much, while they’ve received good advice on some issues brought up. One officer helped the community member type out a written statement into the court.
Another social media commenter simply wrote: “How about coffee with the judges!”
With results in, Police Chief Ben Moszkowicz said it would be difficult, if not impossible, to draw conclusions from the poll without knowing the demographics of those who voted.
“These events were never intended to be a grievance session, (there are other avenues for that), rather they are an opportunity to meet the officers who protect their districts,” Moszkowicz said. “Police officers are community members and when our community policing officers and residents meet, it enhances the relationship of everyone. Our communities are safer and we see crime go down.”
The chief went on to say that the department appreciates community members trusting them enough to share their concerns and looks forward to developing long-term solutions to complex issues facing the communities.
“While our resources are finite, our commitment is not,” he said. “Good community policing is essential to our core mission of preserving peace and providing a safe environment. We invite more people to attend future Coffee With Cop events in the months and years to come.”