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Tigard police sit down with members of the public over coffee

TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Tigard Police Officer Eric Enzenberger chats at the Well & Good Coffee House during National Coffee with a Cop Day.Four police officers took up half the seats at a table near the front of Well & Good Coffee House in Tigard Friday morning.

The other seats at the table were wide open.

The Tigard Police Department has been holding Coffee with a Cop events like this one, in which members of the public are invited to sit down with officers in the relaxed atmosphere of a cafe or donut shop and talk about whatever is on their mind, since 2013, according to police spokesman Jim Wolf. Many law enforcement agencies around the country have adopted the tradition since police in Hawthorne, Calif., launched the Coffee with a Cup initiative in 2011.

“If you approach us on the street, chances are we're doing something else,” said Officer Eric Enzenberger, one of the four Tigard officers at Well & Good for the event. “Whereas this way, if people have a direct question that they've always wondered about, it's a perfect opportunity to meet us and have a relaxing conversation, versus a 30-second blip out on the street.”

Officer Brian Orth said Friday's Coffee with a Cup was the first one in which he has participated in Tigard.

“We see people at their crisis, their worst ever. And so we have to deal with that,” Orth said. “And then, you know, we see people here, they're just being normal, average people. They don't have a crisis. They're just getting their coffee, and we're going to chat with them and converse like people do.”

Officer Kristan Rinell said people often want to talk to officers about concerns they have in their neighborhood, such as traffic issues, or about things they see or read about in the news. She and Enzenberger said many people who are not in law enforcement don't understand the processes used by police, so Coffee with a Cop is an opportunity for them to learn more about how the police do their job.

“We value an opportunity to sort of come together and communicate in a normal way,” Enzenberger said. “You know, we are approachable, and we're normal people, and we are available for normal stuff, not just crises.”

This Friday is National Coffee with a Cop Day, as designated by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Well & Good is located at 7357 S.W. Beveland St., Tigard.

TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Officer Kristan Renell speaks with patrons at Well & Good Coffee House in Tigard.

By Mark Miller
Assistant Editor
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