Together, with the help of their local coffee shops and police departments, roughly a thousand communities across the country are scheduled to take part in Wednesday’s National Coffee With a Cop Day.
The annual event, which began in 2011, aims to facilitate “open, honest and barrier-free communication” between law enforcement and the communities they serve and is hosted at one of the most ubiquitous fixtures of almost every neighborhood — the coffee shop.
“People can talk about whatever they want and get to know officers, who in turn get to know the citizens they serve,” retired police Sgt. Chris Cognac, the co-founder of Coffee With a Cop, told Fox News.
As Sgt. Cognac explains, the annual event has grown tremendously since officers in Hawthorne, Calif., first sparked the idea in 2011.
“The program quickly grew because of its simplicity and honesty,” Cognac said, adding that the program is now taking place in all 50 states, as well as 25 countries across the globe.
This year, more communities are participating than ever before. According to the Coffee With a Cop website, nearly 1,000 coffee shops — or restaurants, or diners, or fast-food locations — are hosting related events on Wednesday.
A regional director for Starbucks, which itself is hosting more than 300 Coffee With a Cop events, has said the program provides more insight for the community, law enforcement officials and the coffee establishments themselves.
“[It] has allowed us to better understand their challenges, and them to better understand ours,” the representative said.
More information on Coffee With a Cop, as well as a list of the events scheduled for Wednesday across the United States, can be found at the organization’s website. Users can also search for future events, too.
And just like in the spirit of the very first event in Hawthorne, Cognac is confident the program will continue to help break down barriers between cops and community.
“Coffee With a Cop has helped build trust and relationships all over the world with a simple cup of coffee and a smile," he said.