Can a cup of coffee help the Honolulu Police Department repair its relationship with an an increasingly mistrustful community?

Police Chief Louis Kealoha is banking on it.

The HPD announced this week that’s it’s launching its first ever “Coffee With a Cop” program, which will allow citizens to meet with officers to discuss issues that are important to them.

The Honolulu Police Department is looking for some love after numerous scandals have tainted its image.

The Honolulu Police Department is looking for some love after numerous scandals have tainted its image.

Flickr: Daniel Cadenas

It’s part of a national initiative backed by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. The program has been underway since 2011 and has since been implemented in all 50 states.

“We hope that these ‘talk story’ sessions will give the public another way to tell us what’s happening in their neighborhoods and what’s important to them,” Kealoha said in statement about the program. “Many public-police interactions involve emergencies and emotionally-charged situations, and these sessions provide a positive alternative.”

An HPD spokeswoman said Thursday that the program is not part of the department’s new $125,000 public relations campaign, which aims to improve communications with the press and paint a better picture of the agency with the public.

The first coffee session is April 12 at the Mililani Mauka McDonald’s from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. A second session will be held April 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Ward Starbucks on Auahi Street.

You can read the PR contract here:

Bennet-Group-Contract (Text)

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