Tiffany Trombley of the Kirkland Police Department, left, and Jamel Warren of the U.S. Marshals Service, pose for a photo during the coffee event. Ashley Hiruko/staff photo

Tiffany Trombley of the Kirkland Police Department, left, and Jamel Warren of the U.S. Marshals Service, pose for a photo during the coffee event. Ashley Hiruko/staff photo

Getting to know cops over coffee in Kirkland

Large crowd of varied law enforcement, patrons bond over java at Juanita Starbucks.

The parking along Northeast 119th Way was littered with police vehicles on Jan. 31.

So many vehicles that it caused a couple strolling near the Juanita Starbucks to question out loud “cops and coffee?”

The coffee shop was packed full of law enforcement officers from Washington State Patrol, the U.S. Marshals Service of Washington, the Federal Air Marshal Service and of course, the Kirkland Police Department (KPD), for the latest Coffee With a Cop event.

An incident last year involving Kirkland police and the Totem Lake Menchie’s is part of the reason why Jamel Warren, organizer and official with the U.S. Marshals Service, chose the location.

He described the November controversy simply: “There was an African American gentleman doing a supervised visitation who was asked to leave by law enforcement.”

This instance led to negative media headlines, he continued.

A Gallup analysis tracking the public’s confidence in police showed that while the percent of Republicans’ confidence in law enforcement had risen during the 2015-17 period, confidence numbers dropped with Democrats by eight percent when compared to the 2012-14 numbers.

Another reason for holding the event, Warren said, was “to clear the air and answer questions — to let people know we’re human and we can move forward from this.”

The Kirkland gathering is one of many Coffee With a Cop events to take place in the country. Backed by a national nonprofit of the same name, the gatherings give citizens and authorities a safe-and-equal space to come together and bond over a cup of Joe.

The events are held in a non-structured, distraction-free way (responders turn off their radios). The success of the gatherings comes from the way “it opens the door for interactions outside of the crisis situations that typically bring law enforcement officers and community members together,” the nonprofit’s website states.

There are always those who come armed with questions for officers during these events. Some ask basic questions about what each branch of law enforcement does. Others approach authorities with questions on what it takes to become an officer or how to make their communities safer. And others, still, spend the time between their coffee orders making small talk with those who protect and serve.

Sometimes the officers run into people they’ve met while on duty. A patron during a Snoqualmie coffee event recognized public information officer Rick Johnson with the Washington State Patrol from a traffic stop. He hasn’t written a ticket for a couple of years.

An email sent out to surrounding agencies made the call for varied law enforcement representatives, Warren said. Like the case was last week, sometimes a large group shows up.

“And sometimes, you have trooper Johnson and me serving coffee out the window of a Federal Way drive-thru,” Warren said.

Johnson and Warren admit: Yes, they were handing out the beverages. No, they were not allowed to craft the drinks. But why would authorities so willingly agree to strap on a green apron in a public setting?

“I don’t want people to be afraid when they call us,” Warren said. “Whether citizen of the U.S. or not, we’re here to help you.”

To the dismay of jokers making the all-too-common cops quip — the room did not reek of bacon that day. Instead it smelled of community camaraderie.

Oh, but they did serve donuts.

To attend a Coffee With a Cop event visit: www.coffeewithacop.com


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Life

Local musicians hold virtual benefit concert for mental health

The stream-a-thon supports NAMI Eastside and nonprofit Hold Your Crown

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.

UW students create Spira app to gather COVID-19 data

The app was created to screen for respiratory diseases but the teen creators shifted their focus once the COVID-19 outbreak began.

Showing their appreciation for EvergreenHealth workers

First responders from Kirkland, Bothell and Woodinville stopped by the Kirkland medical center to show their support for their colleagues.

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

From left, Evan Shouse, Lauren Shouse and Ellienn Tatar stand outside their Kirkland residence. Courtesy photo
Making ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic

LWTech Foundation COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund lends a helping hand.

Savannah Lynn and Will Chadek in the Second Story Repertory of Redmond’s production of “The Fantasticks.” “The Fantasticks” had been performed three times by the organization until coronavirus concerns resulted in the cancellation of the remaining dates. Photo by Michael Brunk
How is the coronavirus affecting the arts?

Representatives from Eastside arts institutions discuss their experiences.

Photo courtesy of Meenakshi Sinha 
                                From left, Kirkland residents Nick Davis and Silvia Bajardi play their instruments at a neighborhood music event March 15.
‘We’re still in this together’: Inspired by Italian residents, Kirkland resident organizes singing event

Meenakshi Sinha wanted to connect Kirkland neighborhoods amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Shamrock Run participants from a previous year smile for the camera. Photo courtesy of Orca Running
Shamrock Run returning to Kirkland March 14

The annual event is put on by Orca Running with presenting sponsor Lake Washington Physical Therapy.

Lake Washington Institute of Technology. File photo
LWTech students place fourth in national Codebreaker Challenge

CSNT program recently placed fourth at the NSA Codebreaker Challenge online competition.