It looked like a raid: The parking lot outside of the Caffe Capri on Vista Avenue was filled with cop cars early Tuesday morning. Inside the coffee shop, however, about a dozen plainclothes detectives, uniformed officers, sergeants and lieutenants, and even new Boise Police Chief William “Bill” Bones weren’t making arrests. From 7-8:30 a.m., they were there to meet Vista neighborhood residents as part of Boise Police Department’s inaugural Coffee with a Cop.
“I had been thinking about doing Coffee with a Cop for about eight or nine months,” said Bones, who was sworn in as chief in February. His plan is for BPD to host coffee meetings every month in a new neighborhood.
Vista was chosen for the first Coffee with a Cop
not only because it’s a good representative of Boise’s demographics, but also because it is the prototype for the city’s Energize Our Neighborhoods program. Strengthening relationships between citizens and police is part of that revitalization.
“We want to drive that interaction, but you know what? I want to know what the citizens want in their neighborhoods,” Bones said. “I want them to know the officers that work their area and have a personal relationship. Sometimes people say, ‘I didn’t call you because I didn’t want to bother you.’ We hear that all the time, but that’s our job. That’s what we’re here for. You know, sometimes people are going to come [to a Coffee with a Cop] because they want to complain about something we’re not doing. We want to hear that, too. … I really do believe sharing of information contributes to the safety of neighborhoods.”
Several area residents must feel the same way because the cozy coffeeshop was filled with people from a young father and his 4-year-old son, to Miss Idaho International 2015 Madison Summers, to a 93-year-old resident who has lived in his Bench-area home since 1923. Shannon McGuire, who works with the city on the Energize Our Neighborhoods program and Barbara English, a youth recreation specialist who oversees the Whitney Community Center were also there as community members with a vested interest in Vista Neighborhood’s health.
Along with Chief Bones, BPD was represented at Coffee with a Cop by officers like Sgt. Danielle Young (BPD’s first female sergeant) who manages the Bench SRO program; Officer Sam Nesbitt, who works at the Boise Airport and handed out trading cards of his dog Appie, an explosive-detection K9; and Officer Mike Nance, the Vista area Neighborhood Contact Officer.
Scanning the room, Bones pointed to a table full of smiling officers and residents.
“It’s a recharge for the officers, too,” he said. “I think it’s a win for the community and a win for the police department.”
for updates on the Coffee with a Cop program.