Foothill-De Anza Police Department launched their first social gathering, “Coffee with a Cop,” on campus April 25, where students and faculty interacted with community police officers to better understand each other.
Chief of police Ronald Levine highlighted two purposes of the event: communication and engagement. “This event is a tool,” he said. “It provides contact and open dialogue, and college communication is just as important.”
This event also aimed to encourage positive relations between the police, students and faculty.
Levine said that as community police officers, they recognize the college is a “small microcosm of the community,” and that their main goal is to protect the students, staff and property.
“We try to keep our constituents safe and also ensure safe learning environments,” Levine said.
Joe Mauss, records specialist, said the event was intended as good public relations and to work towards getting rid of any stereotypes students have of police.
“Most students see the police as the bad person. This event helps and alleviates that fear of police,” Mauss said. He stressed how critical it is for students to realize, the police are here to help.
“We’re not the bad guys here and we need [students] to realize that communication is critical,” Mauss said. “We need the students to be the eyes and ears of this community, when they see something, they should say something.”
Assistant chief Danny Acosta mentioned two rules he learned in law enforcement that apply overall: people provide and receive.
“People provide the service and the people should receive service,” Acosta said. “We’re pretty short staffed here so we need people to tell us any problems and make communication more comfortable.”
Although many people believe the uniforms to be intimidating, Acosta said they should realize police officers are human beings too, with jobs and families.
“That’s what this event is for,” he said. “For the students to show their perspectives and offer any feedback and ideas. We both have the same needs and in the end, want the same thing.”