ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — This Wednesday, October 5 is national “Coffee With a Cop Day,” and the Albany Police Department is planning to take part in the festivities. Officers will be stationed at four Stewart’s Shops across the city, sharing a hot drink and warm conversation with members of the public.
In a Facebook post Tuesday, the Department said, “coffee with a cop is an opportunity for residents to meet with their local neighborhood police at a safe community spot. It provides an opportunity for residents to have an open conversation with their local police department!”
Participating Stewart’s Shops:
- 470 Delaware Avenue
- 1050 Western Avenue
- 204 Henry Johnson Boulevard
- 542 Central Avenue
The event comes on the heels of an extremely violent weekend in Albany. Multiple shootings, including two that are now considered homicides, happened over just a few days.
Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins, in response to the shootings, said gun violence is not just a local problem, but a national one. “We are going through a gun violence crisis right now,” he said.
When Hawkins joined the Department in 2018, he was introduced to the Albany community at a pop-up barbecue event. “This is inspiring to see this,” Hawkins said at the time. “What the community is telling me is that they are satisfied with what is happening,” he said. “They’re proud of what’s happened, but they expect me to help take this to the next level.”
The Police Chief has done everything in his power to accomplish that goal since. Through several other pop-up events, and the latest “coffee with a cop” initiative, Hawkins tried to build relationships that could create new trust between the police and the residents of Albany.
Albany County District Attorney (DA) David Soares, who has been critical of New York’s bail reform laws, feels criminal justice reforms have “normalized” violence. Soares called Albany a city where “death is now accepted as routine.” In all likelihood, the DA would argue that Chief Hawkins’ initiatives are much-needed, in that case.
This Wednesday’s “coffee with a cop” events are slated from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. They are free and open to the public, and coffee will be complimentary as well.