Citizens connect with Federal Way police over coffee

National Police Week includes informal conversation meetup with the Federal Way Police Department.

Coffee and cops — and there sure were donuts, too — but this wasn’t a setup to attract police officers.

Rather, the Federal Way Police Department used it to spark community dialogue.

May 12 through May 18 was National Police Week, and taking advantage of the dates, the Federal Way Police Department hosted “Coffee with a Cop” at the Starbucks in Target at The Commons. The flyer stated there was no agenda and no set topic.

“Coffee with a Cop has been going on for a few years, and so we do this probably about every six months or so, and it’s just an opportunity for the community to come and talk with us and engage with us and ask questions,” said Federal Way Police Cmdr. Kyle Buchanan. “And just to get to know us a little bit and us to get to know them. So that’s why we do these, just for the community engagement type work.”

Buchanan said apart from this being an opportunity to get to know the community, this is also refreshing because most of the time, when police officers engage with the public, it’s a situation where someone is having a bad day.

“I think it’s a good opportunity to show that we’re human and to show that we can talk in a sense where we’re not out there to investigate some sort of crime or take a report, and then we turn away and leave. We’re people that they can talk with and engage with, and we’re part of the community like they are,” he said.

Buchanan said a lot of the people who show up to these events are habitual attendees, but because they hosted this event at a Target, where many citizens come to just to shop, there were some new visitors who might have just stumbled upon the event. Buchanan said although the location was sort of unconventional, it created some impromptu conversations with citizens who noticed the event.

Buchanan said some of the most memorable interactions at these events are when kids attend. He specifically cited an earlier interaction in the day when a kid showed up and asked a bunch of questions. He said when kids interact with them, it’s not only memorable for him, but for most police officers. Apart from these kinds of interactions, Buchanan said these events are also refreshing, throwing a wrench into normal duties.

“It’s good, it’s good. It gets me outside of what I normally do day to day, or what I do on patrol,” Buchanan said. “It’s a good opportunity to meet people and a lot of these people we do meet here, we come in contact with in the community in some other aspect. It’s good to see their faces, and they see ours, and we get to have something in common with the conversations we had here.”

Buchanan said that, ultimately, the Federal Way Police Department is made to serve the community, protect people, and protect the community. He said earning the trust of the public is their department motto, and they strive to be a professional agency people can trust and look highly upon. Currently, Buchanan said he thinks the department has people who do that on a regular basis.