UNION, NJ — Coffee with a Cop Day is a nationwide event dedicated to encouraging communication and positive interactions between law enforcement agencies and the public.
Beginning in 2016, it continues each year on the first Wednesday in October, furthering efforts to bridge the gap between the community and the law.
The township of Union Police Department hosted the event in the parking lot of its headquarters on Wednesday, Oct. 4. The event was sponsored by Blue Foundry Bank of Union. Coffee was provided by Drive-in Cones & Coffee and pastries were provided by Blue Ribbon Bakery & Café in Union.
This is the fourth year the UPD participated in the nationwide event, according to Capt. Barry Cohen. He estimated that each year, between 50 to 100 Union residents stop by, either on their way to work or during a break.
“It fosters community engagement – positive interaction with the community and getting to know us,” Cohen said.
“Events are very important, allowing residents to enjoy and speak to officers one-on-one,” added Sgt. Michael Loguidice. “They realize officers are people, too. We live our lives like they do. It’s a good relationship builder.”
Diane Loguidice was there supporting her son and getting to know others. “It’s such a great way to meet people that someday you may need, but hopefully you won’t.” She added that the UPD “really gives 100% to our community.”
Maureen Sheridan, clerk typist for the UPD, smiled and said, “This is a wonderful event!”
Nikita Cummings of Blue Foundry Bank of Union said, “It’s very important to be a part of the community. What’s better than getting the heroes of our community together with the community?”
Union resident Lakiesah Gyamera decided to participate since she sees police around at other events. It inspired her to “get out in the community and engage.”
Union Police Officer Jeremy Bonilla said, “It’s an adorable event. We have a lot of good people here. I like my neighborhood.”
Officer Ryan Texas, who has been with the force for a year, said he enjoys seeing the local residents he sees each morning going for their walk come to say “hello.”
Jen Ferraro of Union said, “It’s a beautiful day. It’s nice that people in the community are coming out for the coffee and the camaraderie.”
Her friend, Andrea Terrezza, added, “And spending time with our fellow officers in our township.”
Fran Becker, who has been a resident of Union for more than 70 years said, “I think this is great. To see them [the UPD] come out to talk to the people.” Becker said she’s been in town long enough to see generations of police officers, and as the older ones retire, young guys come in. “And they’re dedicated,” she said, enthusiastically.
Mayor Manuel Figueiredo said, “As mayor, I believe it’s so important that we continue this relationship to show the strong bond between citizens and the police department.”
To learn more about the Union Police Department, visit ucnj.org/public-safety/division-of-police/.
To learn more about National Coffee with a Copy Day, visit: coffeewithacop.com/national-cwac-day/.
Photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta