Cops connect over coffee

Hillary Hetrick , @hillarymhetrick

Los Medanos College Police Services partnered up with Student Life to host “Coffee with Police Services” Tuesday, Sept. 18 in L-109, located in the Library, and was held from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

This  event takes place once every semester.

Police officers, police aides, students and faculty gathered to get a free cup of coffee and a muffin. Students and faculty got a chance to ask questions and give comments about their concerns. Most just enjoyed the company of the law enforcement present.

Officer Michael Hotton was informational and optimistic about the event’s objective.

“Police reform and building good relationships is a part of what we’re doing,” Hotton explained.

With controversial politics surrounding policing, the community often views the police as untrustworthy.

“The purpose of events like this is to bring the community together, answer questions and build trust,” said Hotton.

At Los Medanos College, most students seem content with Police Services however.

Hotton continued, “Here at Los Medanos College we have a good relationship with students and faculty.”

Hotton’s solution to easing a community’s uneasiness is getting involved.

“It doesn’t matter where you are, in L.A. or in Detroit. We must engage in the community,” he said.

He believes that if a police officer cannot make the commitment to his community the career is not worth pursuing. His advice for those looking into law enforcement is, “If you’re not willing to engage…your career in law enforcement will be short-lived.”

Officer Eric Broussard agrees with Hotton’s perspective.

“It’s difficult for people to see beyond the badge,” Broussard said.

Events like “Coffee with a Cop” were designed to help lessen the stigma surrounding the police. “We want to show ourselves as regular people,” Broussard said. “We have wives, we have families, and we are fathers and mothers.”

In addition to fostering new relationships, the goal of the event is to spread awareness.

“A lot of people don’t know a lot about Police Services,” said Police Aide Sandy Lomeli. “We offer assistance to handicapped people by giving them rides in our golf carts.”

Lomeli loves to help people. She happily said, “I love the fact that I can help students around campus.”

When talking about her future, Lomeli is hopeful. “I’m going to transfer in the Spring. I want to be a police officer.”

Student Life Coordinator Teresea Archaga, one of the event’s organizers, sees the good that events like Coffee with Police Services provides. Archaga also agrees with the philosophy that the events stands for.

“Police Services wants to help destigmatize students by letting them feel comfortable,” said Archaga. “We should see police officers as people here to help us.”