A hot cup of coffee is a good way to start a conversation and help local police officers connect with the people they serve.

That’s the simple goal of Coffee with a Cop. The partnership between McDonald’s and local law enforcement certainly delivered at a recent event at the McDonald’s on Coliseum Boulevard across from Glenbrook Square Mall in mid-March.

“It’s a get to know you thing,” says Captain Sofia Rosales-Scatena of the Fort Wayne Police Department. “Sometimes people think cops are robots. I think this kind of interaction gives us a little more insight into each other.”

FWPD Captain Sofia Rosales-Scatena high fives four year old Reagan during a Coffee with a Cop event at McDonald’s on Coliseum Blvd. March 14, 2023.

Corporal Adam Griffith of the Allen County Sheriff’s Department says it’s all about connecting with the community. “There’s no agenda. It’s just a casual conversation.”

The program has been around for over a decade but was put on hold for almost three years when Covid-19 shut down most of the world in 2020. Most of the previous events were held in the morning, but now they’re trying to reach more families by scheduling events in the early evening.

The free chocolate chip cookie was a big hit with four year old Reagan who munched down the treat while holding the attention of several officers as they hung on every word she said. They even tacked a sticker badge on her chest which brought a huge smile and prompted this declaration. “Look daddy, I’m a police officer!”

4-year-old Reagan walks into McDonald’s on Coliseum Blvd. for a Coffee with a Cop event.

Kadidja Allahou snapped pictures with the officers while enjoying the coffee and conversation. “We used to see them from afar,” she said, “but I’m happy to be close to them and see that they are here for our security. It is very good to talk to them.”

Indiana State Police Sergeant Brian Walker says that’s what events like this are for. “You can’t protect and serve without knowing who you’re out there with. Positive interactions can form lasting bonds with the community.”

As Reagan was leaving, she shared a high-five with Capt. Rosales-Scatena who told her to keep shining like a rock star and that they could be partners some day. It was another building block to bridge the gap between officers and even the youngest in the community.

Indiana State Police Sergeant Brian Walker talks with a young customer during a Coffee with a Cop event at McDonald’s on Coliseum Blvd. March 14, 2023.

“We are just like anyone else walking through that McDonald’s door,” she says. “We’re the same person as you are. We live here. We work here. We go to school here. We raise our families here. We’re the citizens that make up this community.”

That message is what Coffee with a Cop is really all about and makes it easy to why it’s Positively Fort Wayne.

The next Coffee with a Cop is scheduled for June 6th from 4:30-6:30pm at the McDonalds at 1210 E. Dupont Road.

Events are also planned September 7th at the Stellhorn Road McDonald’s, and November 7th at the Coventry Lane McDonald’s.