The UNT Police Department and the UNT chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) are partnering to encourage members of the UNT community to meet and get acquainted with the officers that serve the campus.
Pizza with the Police is a free event from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17 in Willis Library, Room 140. The informal event is designed to create a positive, tension-free atmosphere for the community and officers to socialize.
“We are a very customer service based department and we truly do live by the ‘protect and serve’ motto,” says Cpl. Kevin Crawford of the police department. “Any time there is an opportunity for us to connect with the community and show that we are here to protect and serve, we’ll take it.”
Crawford says that the community should come into the event knowing that the officers are there to simply make themselves available. The department wants to establish a stronger community partnership.
“We’re police officers, but we’re humans too. We want community members to feel comfortable reaching out to us,” Cpl. Crawford says.
NAACP chapter president Tarryn Oliver, a senior integrative studies major, anticipates the event initiating better community relations despite all that goes on in the media.
Oliver says that in light of recent events across the nation involving police and civilians, there seemed to be a sense of urgency to hold an even like this at this time.
“We felt it necessary to create these positive relationships and minimize the chances of something horrible occurring in our own community,” Oliver says. “I hope that the police officers understand how to better be involved in breaking that barriers that have been put between them and the community.”
Oliver also hopes those who attend the event leave with a trust in the police officers and a belief that the officers’ mindset is they want what is best for everyone, knowing that there is a person with feelings behind the badge.
The event will be followed by a similar mixer, Coffee with a Cop, also in Willis Library Room 140 from 8 to 11 a.m. on Nov. 2 for community members who find it more convenient to attend a morning event.
— Gabrielle Ebron, student assistant, University Relations, Communications and Marketing