SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

The 'Coffee with a Cop' program  is expanding. The Santa Barbara Police Department is serving as an example for the rest of the country.  Officers spent the afternoon training with several other agencies. They are learning how to better communicate with the community.

"I asked about the gang injunction, and the officer said, 'you should talk to the chief.' I spent 20 minutes talking to the chief.  You don't get to do that very often," said Santa Barbara resident, David Landecker.  He is one of several people to attend the Coffee with a Cop event.

"They get to be heard, and we get a lot of information coming to us," added Santa Barbara Police Officer Kasi Buetel.

Local community members will have more opportunities like this one.  Now, so will people in communities across the country.

A group of police officers in Hawthorne started the Coffee with a Cop program.
They just received a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to develop the program. They're using Santa Barbara as a role model.

"we wanted to bring other police officers here to show them an example of a successful program," said Coffee with a Cop founder, Chris Cognac.

Cognac and his team will be hosting 20 seminars nationwide. 

The Santa Barbara Police Department started its program about six months ago, and officers hope it will only get better.

"It's important for our officers to know that they are really appreciated," said Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez.

"They have a job to do enforcing the law, but they also have to be accessible and make our community work better," added Landecker.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department will be holding its own coffee with a cop event in Goleta on Thursday.
The Santa Barbara Police Department is planning its next event in June.