Coffee With a Cop: A blend of conversation and coffee


Autumn Alvarez

Students and faculty members chat and drink coffee with De Anza’s campus police.

Autumn Alvarez

Fueled by hot coffee and fresh treats, “Coffee With a Cop” has become a long-running event where students and the community are invited to have conversations with campus police in a casual setting.

The meet and greet gathers at Foothill College and De Anza College’s main quads once every quarter. This quarter’s event was held on Wednesday, Feb. 15 and brought employees, students and community members alike to sip and chat. 

Chief of the Foothill-De Anza district police department Daniel Acosta said that he has participated in Coffee With a Cop throughout his eight years as a campus officer.

“It’s a great way to get to know us,” Acosta said. “It’s a way to bring up not only conversations, but concerns as well.”

Acosta also explained how people enjoy sharing their insight and immersing themselves in face-to-face interaction.

“People bring up things in conversation that I hadn’t thought about,” Acosta said. “(Then) I can bring that up to the county and see if we can cooperate with the other campuses. They don’t want to call or email, they want it this way.”

Although this interaction is cherished by some, speaking with police officers is not comfortable for everyone.

Tai Vu, an 18-year-old mathematics major, attended his first Coffee With a Cop event despite his fear of the police. 

“I’m scared of police in general, mostly for getting pulled over,” Vu said. “But I believe these interactions will build my confidence.”

Campus officer Frank Rocha said the goal for these causal interactions in school settings is to make connections between officers and civilians to “prove that a uniform is just clothing.”

“This event allows there to be an interpersonal exchange between students and cops,” Rocha said. “People learn that we are just like them.” 

Raghav Gautum, 20, computer science major, was initially drawn to the event for the coffee and food, and also believes that it creates an awareness of De Anza’s campus police.

“They are friendly and they are here for the students,” Gautam said.

The campus has also shown their efforts to enhance safety by handing out free resources including whistles, sirens and flashlights.

Computer science major Yuliia Palamarchuk, 27, has engaged in Coffee With a Cop before and said she likes the police’s presence on campus.

“I feel trustful of the police,” said Palamarchuk. “Their outreach is helpful and makes me feel safer.”

Acosta said finding commonalities in everyday conversations builds back trust that may have been lost and awards both officers and fearful individuals with worthwhile experiences. 

“I’ve talked to individuals who have come up and said they were afraid to talk to me,” Acosta said. “It makes me feel good that after we talk they say they are glad to have stopped by, that they never thought they would be speaking with a police officer.” 

Chief Acosta adds that the campus police department has found a pan dulce, a Mexican sweet bread, vendor for the next Coffee With a Cop event in the upcoming spring quarter.