SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The second annual South Orange Coffee with a Cop was held at the Baird Center on October 24. The event was open to the public and included free coffee and donuts.
Coffee with a Cop attendees included several South Orange police officers, South Orange Village Trustees, and even some Seton Hall students and staff. The event was helmed by the Neighborhood Watch Organization of South Orange’s resident coordinator Janine Buckner, who also serves as an associate dean for Seton Hall’s College of Arts and Sciences.
“This is really a great chance for the community to see that they [South Orange police officers] are all people too,” Buckner said.
Seton Hall student Stephen Pomponio also took the time to come into town for the event, since his father serves as a dispatcher for Carlstadt PBA 312. He was at ease and comfortable talking with various officers, which is not always typical college student behavior.
“I’m happy to get to know these officers and try to bring ideas from Carlstadt to the table here,” he said.
Sgt. Adrian Acevedo, head of the South Orange Police's Community Relations Bureau, stressed the importance of the event in reducing community tension, but he also cited budget and time management as issues facing the department.
“All of the officers here except for maybe two are on overtime right now,” said Sgt. Acevedo. “It’s hard to get guys to come in for this after a ten-hour shift, especially now that we’re down to 46 officers in the precinct.”
In 2017, Sgt. Acevedo plans to hold Coffee with a Cop events quarterly, resulting in four annual Coffee with a Cop events rather than just one. Instead of considering what difficulties this may incur internally, Sgt. Acevedo and the other officers were all positive about the decision.
For more about the 2015 South Orange Coffee with a Cop event , click here.