Every day, INTERPOL Washington—U.S. National Central Bureau (USNCB) serves as the national point of contact for coordinating international investigative efforts among INTERPOL member countries, and more than 18,000 local, state, federal, and tribal law enforcement agencies in the United States. We’d like to extend our sincere appreciation to these dedicated public servants—especially to our state and local liaisons in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia in the DMV—by Celebrating Coffee with a Cop day.
Coffee with a Cop was started by the Hawthorne, California, Police Department (HPD) in 2011 as a response to tensions between the police and the community. In order to facilitate discussion and forge alliances, the HPD invited residents to join them for coffee. Thus, the first Coffee with a Cop day was born. The program continues to spread with the participation of more than 2,000 law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. The Department of Justice (Office of Community Oriented Policing Services) has provided funding for the Coffee with a Cop program, helping to spur the growth of the program throughout the United States and abroad, including Canada, Australia, Europe and Africa. Additionally, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policy highlighted this program as a way to build community trust and confidence.
Coffee with a Cop is also a partnership initiative. Partnership is a core value of INTERPOL Washington and we continue to grow our global police network by maintaining partnerships with federal and local law enforcement agencies and international organizations. INTERPOL Washington utilizes a blended workforce of permanent Department of Justice employees and detailed personnel. These detailed employees are able to apply investigative techniques from their home agencies to INTERPOL Washington cases. Upon return to their home agencies, the detailed employees are able to leverage INTERPOL’s tools, which strengthens our partnerships initiative.
Currently, we have approximately 70 law enforcement professionals detailed to USNCB. They represent organizations as diverse as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to our state and local police representatives. Assistant Commander Micah Andersen (Sheriff’s Office in Story County, Iowa) and Sergeant William Heggs (Maryland Police Department, Prince Georges County) are standout examples of the detailees’ teamwork between the USNCB and U.S. law enforcement. They both support our state and local outreach mission, promoting programs that help police departments to accomplish their jobs.
One example of the partnership that we celebrate on Coffee with a Cop day, and one that both Micah and William promote, is called Federation. Under federation, U.S. law enforcement agencies can query both domestic and INTERPOL indices in a single search. This enables officers to find out in real-time whether the subject of an investigation poses a known transnational and or terrorist criminal threat. These combined searches can be conducted from both fixed and mobile platforms, including vehicle-mounted and hand-held devices. Currently, 12 states and the District of Columbia participate in federation.
Each state, and an increasing number of major cities across the United States, also host INTERPOL liaison offices to coordinate international criminal investigative requests for assistance from INTERPOL Washington. At INTERPOL Washington, we are committed to supporting U.S. law enforcement and we are constantly improving our processes and programs. So, today we tip our (coffee) cups to all of our law enforcement partners and wish you a great day!