A police officer’s job can be different from the jobs most people do or encounter in their daily lives. So, there is the challenge to effectively explain what officers face while doing their jobs day-to-day. There is also the challenge of breaking down the stigma that officers might be unapproachable in normal, everyday interactions, such as at a park, in a store or just walking down the street.
To help with these challenges, the Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD) engages in a variety of outreach efforts. One being the Citizens’ Police Academy — a 12-week long program that takes attendees behind the scenes in almost all workings of SCPD.
There’s also Coffee with a Cop, Chat with the Chief and, the newest variety, Talk and Tour. Coffee with a Cop and Chat with a Chief both allow residents to spend time talking with officers in a friendly, non-confrontational environment. Coffee with a Cop is usually held at a local coffee house and Chat with a Chief is usually held at a park.
Talk and Tour is the latest outreach effort and is held at the Police Department in a more meeting-like atmosphere. Lasting 90 minutes, the first Talk and Tour was held on Monday, June 18 from 7 – 8:30 p.m. with 24 attendees from all over Santa Clara.
Visitors had the chance to meet SCPD Chief Sellers who was the host for the night. Sellers spoke in detail about a number of programs as well as the department’s organizational structure. Participants were then given a tour of the Dispatch Center, Records Unit and Temporary Holding Facility.