On Tuesday, Hayes High School hosted “Cocoa with a Cop” throughout the school day and invited students to meet and get to know local law enforcement members.
The event was put organized by Hayes Librarian Sarah Ressler Wright and School Resource Office Joseph Kolp, and it was attended by students from every grade level. During the event, students spoke with and did activities with different officers and deputies from the City of Delaware Police Department and the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office.
Wright said a “Coffee with a Cop” event was held at Hayes back in 2019, but the decision was made this time around to put a different spin on the event and call it “Cocoa with a Cop.”
“It was quite successful (back in 2019),” she said. “It was great. We were going to replicate it but then COVID happened.”
Wright said she jumped at the opportunity to set the event up this year and give students a chance to engage with law enforcement in a positive environment.
“I really like the opportunity to foster a great community relationship with the police department,” Wright said. “I know when I was in high school, I was really intimidated by law enforcement. They become more relevant to students in high school, and I want it to be a strong partnership. The more we can foster community relationships, the better. I want to make sure that the police officers know that I’m always supportive of our officers and the incredibly hard work they do.”
Kolp said he’s pleased with how the event went.
“Anytime the kids get to come in in a more positive, laid back setting, it gets them to open up more with officers,” Kolp said. “We encourage them to ask the difficult questions and have open conversations. For me, I’m in the school every day. The kids get used to seeing me, so I really enjoy watching them get to interact with my other co-workers and see that they are just people like anybody else. They’re here to serve and help them out.”
Kolp and Wright said the positive reception to the event has made them hopeful it can become a regular occurrence.
One of the officers in attendance at the event was Delaware Police Capt. Adam Moore, who said he was excited to take part and meet the students.
“It’s been a great day,” Moore said. “I’ve found the students to be engaged. They’ve asked good questions, not always easy questions, but with genuine curiosity about what we do. Any opportunity that we get to interact with youth or any other citizens and talk about what we do on their behalf is a positive. We work for the public. Any chance we have to work with the public, explain what we do, that’s a benefit. This event allows us to build some of those relationships in a non-formal way.”
Moore said four to five officers took part in the event at a time, coming and going as their schedules allowed. He added he’s thankful the sheriff’s office was also able to take part in the event, and he’s looking forward to future collaborations with the school.
“The sheriff’s office has been here, they are great partners,” Moore said. “I think today’s event has gone so well. It’s opened up other possibilities of where we could be involved or assist in other things at the school.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.