Courtesy photo/South Portland Police Department

SOUTH PORTLAND — The South Portland Police Department brought back its monthly Coffee with a Cop meet-and-greet session at CIA Café. 

CIA Café, located at 72 Ocean St., hosted the police department on April 13 from 9 to 10 a.m. The event allows residents and police officers to meet for coffee and conversation.  

According to a news release from South Portland police, “The mission of Coffee with a Cop is to break down the barriers between police officers and the citizens they serve by removing agendas and allowing opportunities to ask questions, voice concerns, and get to know the officers in your neighborhood.”

Join the chiefs and officers from the police department for Coffee with a Cop. This is only the third time the department has been able to meet with residents at the café since being postponed due to the pandemic. 

“Coffee with a Cop is supposed to be an in-person, casual atmosphere for people to come in and ask us questions and get to know us a little bit,” said Lt. Todd Barker. “We were doing it once a month back prior to COVID; it is somewhere in the city and this is the third one we have done this year.

“We hope to do these once a month. We might not always hit that, but we are certainly opening things back up. We advertise the events on our social media and department webpage. Sometimes we will go down to the business that we are going to have it at, either Starbucks or CIA Café, and put a sign up letting people know we’re going to be there.”

Barker said the biggest complaint and concern they get as a police department, not necessarily at Coffee with a Cop, is traffic concerns from neighborhoods where residents want drivers to slow down. The officers and chiefs at these events get a range of questions from the attendees. Most questions are residents wondering why officers were at a house in their neighborhood and asking for more information and questions about what they do and who they are. Often visitors to the shops will stop and just have a conversation with the officers. 

Coffee with a Cop event is held in all 50 states and is one of the most successful community-oriented policing programs across the country and has expanded outside of the United States. The program launched in Hawthorne, California, in 2011. The Hawthorne Police Department was looking for ways to interact with its residents.  

The South Portland event, which is free and open to the public, gives residents a chance to ask questions, voice concerns, and get to know their local patrol officers. For more information, call Lt. Todd Bernard at 207-799-5511 or email Those interested in attending a Coffee with a Cop session are encouraged to visit the South Portland Police Department Facebook page.

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