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Starbucks in Olde Tollgate Village hosts York Regional Police Department for the department's first Coffee with a Cop event in York Township.

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York City residents will soon be able to have Coffee with a Cop, a program that aims to improve communication between law enforcement and the public.

The first Coffee with a Cop event will be held  Saturday, April 14, at I-ron-ic Coffee Shop, 256 W. Philadelphia St.

More: York Township Starbucks hosts Coffee with a Cop

The event will begin at noon and is expected to last for an hour or two, according to York City Police Sgt. Roger Nestor, who is organizing the program. 

Nestor said that he came across information about the national Coffee with a Cop program on social media after a similar event that was held by the York Regional Police in January, as well as one that was held in Lancaster. He  ran the idea by Interim Chief Troy Bankert, who was enthusiastic.

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"He said whatever you need to do to get the program going, do it," Nestor said.

Nestor hopes to continue  the event on a monthly basis in the city, in different areas. The first event will feature Nestor and Bankert, but subsequent events will involve police officers who cover a particular area, he said.

"The purpose is to break down barriers of communication between the public and the police," he said.

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The event is designed to be casual, he said, and officers will attend in street clothes.

"We won't show up in uniform or anything like that," he said. "We want to avoid  the type-A professional dragnet stereotype."

Everyone is welcome to attend the event, but police would prefer that they are either York City residents or have a connection to the city, he said. From there, the public will be asked to share their questions and concerns. 

"The community will dictate whatever we talk about," he said.

Nestor is hoping for a turnout of a dozen to two dozen residents.

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Background: The Coffee with a Cop program was launched in Hawthorne, California, in 2011, as a result of a brainstorming session among police officers about how to improve communication between law enforcement and the public.

They decided the best way to do that was to have the two groups meet over a cup of a coffee, and from there, the program took off. In less than five years, Coffee with a Cop programs have been hosted in all 50 states and have expanded internationally to Canada, Europe and Australia. 

For more information about the national campaign, check out www.coffeewithacop.com.

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