For many people, their sole interaction with a police officer might involve being asked for identification or for details about a crime incident.
In the Coffee with a Cop program, the question might be, 'Do you take cream or sugar?'
The purpose of the program is to give residents an informal setting to meet and ask questions of police Chief Jeff Pearson and officers, said Sgt. Rick Hardy, of the department's community services bureau.
The next Coffee with a Cop session will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 22, at Transcend Coffee, 4050 Broadway.
The meetings, held quarterly, are presented by the Division of Police along with the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce and the Grove City Town Center Inc.
"There's no agenda, just a chance for people to meet us, ask some questions and let us know what concerns and suggestions they might have," Hardy said.
"What's nice about the Coffee with a Cop program, is that it breaks down the barriers between residents and police officers," he said. "It's all part of our community policing philosophy."
The police department works in conjunction with the chamber to set up locations for each session.
"Anything we can do to help promote our police department and the service they provide the community, we're thrilled to do," chamber director Shawn Conrad said.
Coffee with a Cop brings residents and law enforcement personnel together "in a neighbor to neighbor" way, she said.
Previous programs have been held at Panera Bread, Sunny Street Cafe and the Tin Box Cafe, Hardy said.
"We go from table to table, saying hi to people and seeing if they have any questions and comments for us," he said.
The program is modeled after the original Coffee with a Cop series created by the Hawthorne, California, police department, Hardy said.
"They were looking for ways to more informally interact with the residents in their community," he said. "That's what community policing is all about, building trust between law enforcement and residents."
Grove City's effort has been successful, with 60 to 75 people attending the first three sessions, Hardy said.
"It's been successful, but that wasn't really unexpected," he said.
"We have such a great level of support in our community. We knew if we started this program, people would respond.
"It's a program we'll be extending into 2018," Hardy said.
Santa Claus will be a guest at the Dec. 22 event.
"You can bring your kids and they can have some cocoa and visit with Santa," Hardy said. "It's also a chance for kids to meet and interact with police officers and see that we're someone who's here to help them."