Springfield cafe hosts Coffee with a Cop

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SPRINGFIELD, NJ — Coffee with a Cop is a national program with the mission of bringing together police officers and the citizens they serve.

Halo Roasters, a café on 228 Mountain Ave., Springfield, and the Springfield Police Department recently hosted Coffee with a Cop.

Coffee was free, courtesy of the Springfield Police Department and Halo Roasters. Police officers were learning to make cappuccinos and pitched in by serving them to the public.

“It’s a chance for the community to come see us and ask questions,” said Lt. Ryan Westover. “Sometimes politicians show up. It’s a nice time to take a break.” Westover also said that the Springfield Police Department tries to go to other towns that have Coffee with a Cop to support them. “It’s nice to see other towns participating,” he added.

Police Officer Frank Cunha said he agreed that the event is a way to connect with the community, engage and talk. He also said officers can hear people’s problems and try to help.

Sgt. Keith Christopher said he sees the event as “a way to meet officers in a more casual environment.”

“We’re a very community-oriented town,” added Chief of Police John Cook. “Meeting in a relaxed environment and answering questions, it builds a community relationship.”

Cook mentioned a similar event, Pizza with the Police, which is geared toward school-age children and happens after school, when the weather gets warmer. “We try to have them have a good impression,” he said. “There’s a lot of negativity out there.”

Michele DeCagna, who is a crossing guard in Springfield, said she was excited about the event and came with friends. She worked her way around the café, chatting with the policemen in attendance.

Harry and Lori Eckhardt, owners of Halo Roasters, said they were enthusiastic about the event. “The community loves to come in,” said Lori, who is a retired Roselle police lieutenant. “A lot of people come out and enjoy the experience. We have a place that everybody’s welcome. We tailor the experience to the individual. Our customer service, music, vibe, lighting, work to socialize to what the individual is looking for. We have no microwave. Everything is made from scratch.”

Detective Luis Brito said, “I come to eat all the time. It’s mostly regulars. Officers are on the road, they stop in. Customers get to know the officers.”

To learn more about the Springfield Police Department, visit: https://springfield-nj.us/departments/police/.

To learn more about Coffee with a Cop, visit: https://coffeewithacop.com/.

Photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta