Coffee was poured and conversations flowed during Wednesday's “Coffee with a Cop” event in downtown Tampa. It was a day where people from a community shared a cup with their local law enforcement.
At the downtown McDonalds a large group of deputies from the Hillsborough County Sheriff Department were there to welcome them. Officers greeted guests at their tables and joined families during their meals with casual conversation. Those conversations varied from local sports to the effects of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
One deputy talked with people who are stilling trying to get in contact with family in Puerto Rico, after hearing form one of their sisters on the island.
Meanwhile, a sergent had a conversation about pancakes with a three-year-old boy, enjoying breakfast with his mom.
Deputies continued to handout and refill coffees during the event.
Some deputies took the event to the drive-through and started passing out meals to customers. The deputies surprised customers as they drove up to the window.
Danny Alvarez, president of the Sheriff's Hispanic Advisory Council, grabbed a cup and sat down with the deputies.
Alvarez said events like “Coffee with a Cop” are need so the community can get to know their law enforcement. “The more understanding there is," he said, " the less misunderstanding is out there."
Coffee with a Cop has grown to include United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Africa, hosting more than 600 events over the past five years. According to its web site, Coffee with a Cop gives law enforcement an opportunity to interact with the community they service in a casual environment. The conversations have no barriers or agendas, which give residents a chance to ask the questions that concern and to get answers.