Police coordinate open forum on campus

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The Pacific Index and Forest Grove Police Department teamed up to host Coffee with a Cop on the Forest Grove campus on the University Center Patio March 31 in an effort to give students the chance to ask police officers questions.

Forest Grove Police Community Outreach Specialist Lauren Quinsland said that Coffee with a Cop is a nation wide event that gives citizens a friendly environment to interact with police officers.

She said Coffee with a Cop is an opportunity for the for citizens to get to know police officers in a positive way and not by simply being put in the back of a police car.

“A police officers number one job is to help people, so we wanted to have an opportunity for students to realize that police are human,” Quinsland said.

Coffee with a Cop has been a Forest Grove tradition, previously hosted at Maggie’s Buns and McDonalds, with the same focus of inviting the public to get to know their officers and ask questions.

Quinsland said that they wanted to have students see police and help them realize that police officers are people just like everyone else.

“I am one of the first people you see when you walk in [the police station] and my hope is the more people see me around town and campus, when they walk in they say, ‘oh I know that person,’” Quinsland said. “That immediately breaks down barriers, it is easier to have a conversation with somebody you recognize.”

Quinsland said that she doesn’t hear a lot about other universities doing a Coffee with a Cop type event.

She said in the beginning there was some hesitation from the police department because students could be vocal in many different ways.

She said once a plan was drafted and the police figured out some key aspects to cover in flyers and conversation that the police department was more prepared.

The flyers covered things like bicycle theft, marijuana laws and sexual assault.

“One of the most positive things that came out of this was a dialogue with the university about how the police can better serve students at Pacific,” Quinsland said.

Quinsland said that the police station hopes to continue this dialogue with Pacific and she hopes that Coffee with a Cop will not just be a one-time event, but something that is continued through the years.

Senior Nicole Vickers helped with the planning of Coffee with a Cop and worked closely with Quinsland.

Vickers and Quinsland walked around and helped students understand why so many police officers were on campus.

Vickers said she talked with most of the police officers about topics including the recent car break-ins and bicycle theft and also helped Quinsland act as a liaison between the students and the police officers.

Quinsland and Vickers commented that many students did not know why so many police officers were on campus so they took it upon themselves to tell students why.

“Knowing students on campus and knowing the rhetoric that is surrounding police, not specifically the Forest Grove department, I thought it was very important for students to have a conversation with their local police officers and understanding the resources available to them,” Vickers said.

Vickers mentioned that the police are not here to just break up parties, they are here to help people and provide service to students and the citizens of Forest Grove.


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