Coffee with a Cop celebrated in Linden

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LINDEN, NJ — Mayor Derek Armstead, the city of Linden and the Linden Police Department recently invited the public to have Coffee with a Cop at Starbucks at Target, 621 W. Edgar Road.

The event was sponsored by Target. There were courtesy snacks and coffee.

The Linden Police Department gave out free children’s activity books, stickers, notepads, hand sanitizer, pencils, letter openers and key chains.

According to police detective Jacyn McPhail, this is the 19th year the Linden Police Department has offered Coffee with a Cop. This is their first time the event was hosted at Target.

Coffee with a Cop is a nationwide event that brings police officers and community members together – over coffee – to discuss issues and learn more about each other. “I’m a people person,” McPhail said. “I like to help people.”

As for the challenges of being a police detective, McPhail said, “Changing the negative perspective into a positive.”

Pedro Salcedo, the store manager of Starbucks in Target, was pouring coffee for the citizens who wanted to meet the cops. He said, “I love that the community is involved with police.”

Capt. Christopher Guenther, public information officer and administrative captain, said, “Coffee with a Cop is about breaking down barriers. People only deal with police officers when there’s a crisis. A man lived here for nine years and never interacted with police officers. We’re meeting people in a relaxed atmosphere. It’s a good opportunity for engagement. Pedro went above and beyond.”

“I love cops!” Carolyn Graham said excitedly. “They are right there when you need them.”

Angela Knight, of Rahway, who came to Target to shop, said, “They (the police officers) are doing a great job!”

Liz Baez of Elizabeth, who also came to shop, said, “They seem to be doing their job patrolling.”

Officer Victoria Vazquez said, “It’s an amazing thing we can do for the community. We can connect with them. It’s a positive event.”

Debra Giacalone, a secretary at School 6, said, “This is great. I grew up in Linden. I see some people I grew up with. It’s nice seeing everybody.”

Capt. Rick Bachmann said, “It’s nice to get into the community. When the public sees us, it’s in a different light.”

The mission of Coffee with a Cop is to break down the barriers between police officers and the citizens they serve. To learn more about Coffee with a Cop, visit:

Photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta