Mar 15, 2017 | Atlanta, GA
Getting to know the Georgia Tech Police officers who patrol the campus has never been easier with two new outreach programs.
In January the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) launched Coffee with a Cop and kicked off Adopt a Cop with residence halls in late February. Each program is designed to get officers mingling with students, faculty and staff to increase dialogue and break down barriers.
“We do a lot to interact with students, but Coffee with a Cop is for faculty, staff and anyone on campus,” said Officer Jessica Howard of GTPD’s Crime Prevention Unit. “We’re here to serve and protect, and we do that best when we have good relationships with everyone on campus.”
The initial Coffee with a Cop was at Blue Donkey on the first floor of the Student Center. GTPD provided free coffee as they socialized with about 10-12 people who turned out. The java will not be free at all Coffee with a Cop events, but Howard is hoping the interactions will be meaningful and worthwhile enough that word will spread and attendance build.
“We don’t want to be intimidating,” said Howard, who has been with GTPD for three years. “There’s no agenda. Just conversation.”
The second event was hosted at The Lab Bistro & Coffee Bar, located in the Ford Environmental Science and Technology Building. For the next Coffee with a Cop, monitor GTPD’s social media feeds.
Like Coffee with a Cop, Adopt a Cop is designed to bring members of the campus community into contact with GTPD officers. This initiative is centered around campus housing units. The meeting involved Family Housing on 10th Street.
“We want to build a relationship and give the residents a sense that they have their own ‘go-to’ officer,” Howard said. “A lot of people may not be comfortable just calling the department. When they know someone, they feel more comfortable reaching out.”
Adopt a Cop will begin with East Campus, West Campus and graduate housing units before expanding to Greek houses. Already, nine Greek houses have responded with interest, and nearly 25 officers are participating. The program calls for officers to spend one to two hours a month with the residents at social events.
To learn more about these two outreach programs contact Howard at (404) 894-0670 or firstname.lastname@example.org.