Students and officers from the UW Oshkosh Police Department gathered to have a conversation while enjoying a free cup of coffee during the Coffee with a Cop event.
The event was held in the Reeve Concourse on Wednesday and was open to anyone who wanted to stop by and get to know the campus officers.
Sgt. Chance Duenkel started the event hoping to create a forum for students and local officers to interact.
“It’s a venue where we open up any dialogue people want to talk about,” Duenkel said. “Whether it’s certain topics people want to talk about or just want to get to know the officers that are in the community. It’s a way to get to know us to talk about issues all while getting free coffee.”
According to Duenkel, the event helps foster the relationship between the police department and UWO students.
“The only way to build that trust is communication,” Duenkel said. “Getting to know us on a personal level and talking through issues people may have.”
Community service officer Nicholas Ronsman said Coffee with a Cop is important because of the image police officers face today.
“Relationships between police and citizens is not what it should be in this country, it’s not the greatest,” Ronsman said. “This event is important to rebuild those relationships.”
Duenkel said the relationship between the UW Oshkosh Police Department and the students is a positive one, but could always improve.
“We get a lot of people coming into the office to report incidents and I take pride that people feel comfortable to come to us and report different incidents,” Duenkel said. “Could the trust and relationship be stronger? Absolutely. I think that we can improve upon a better relationship than we already have with the community.”
UWO junior Ashley Tubbs said she believes the relationship between the police on campus and students has improved.
“They have upgraded security on campus and have offered more Safewalks on campus and you see police out patrolling more often,” Tubbs said.
Duenkel said the UWO Police Department’s goal is to keep the Coffee with a Cop event going and to host it at different times.
“The goal is to have one once a month and keep the ball rolling as people want to come and talk to us and get a free cup of coffee,” Duenkel said. “My goal is to try and change up the times so that different officers can take part in it and people can meet different officers on different shifts.”
The goal of Coffee with a Cop is to change the perception of police officers in the eyes of students.
“We want people to know that when they see the police it doesn’t mean something bad is happening,” Duenkel said. “This is a chance that people can see police in a positive light.”