Starbucks says it will host at least 100 "Coffee with a Cop" events this year in an effort to strengthen community relations between law enforcement officers and the people they serve.
On Friday, Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz told a conference of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement executives in Seattle that the chain is committed to fulfilling its pledge by inviting local police to contact store locations around the U.S. to set up dates for the events.
Starbucks is partnering with NOBLE, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Major Cities Chiefs Association to start off the first events in five cities – Dallas, Indianapolis, New York, Norfolk, VA and Seattle.
"Starbucks has always served as a gathering place for communities across the country to come together - including law enforcement and the people they serve and protect," Schultz said at a recent symposium hosted by NOBLE.
Schultz continued, "We are pleased to host meetings in our stores across the U.S. where police and the community can meet and share experiences to foster greater understanding and empathy."
Coffee with a Cop launched in 2011 in Hawthorne, Calif. by members of the Hawthorne Police Department who were looking for innovative ways to successfully interact with members of the community.
“Starbucks has a long-standing relationship with the police department here, so we decided to engage them with the customers who visit our stores,” said Starbucks district manager, Sean Greenlee. “Once we brought them all together, there was a greater sense of understanding on both sides and many assumptions were laid to rest.”
A 2016 survey conducted by the Coffee with a Cop organization resulted in 70 percent of survey respondents across the country saying they felt better about police force after participating in the formal discussions.
But not all of Starbucks' socially conscious campaigns have been met with positivity.
Two years ago, Starbucks launched the “Race Together” campaign in an effort to have baristas ignite a national discussion on race with customers.
After some reported controversy, the campaign ended after just one week.
Starbucks says it is now looking forward to building stronger, safer communities around the country and help those who may feel disenfranchised connect with local police officers.