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Coffee and conversation with the UNH Police Department


Michael Valotto/Staff A sign outside of Zeke’s Café encourages students to converse with police officers while enjoying some free coffee.

I met with three UNH police officers at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 12 at Zeke’s Café in Dimond Library to take them up on some free coffee, and also talk with them about their work on campus. Among them was Patrol Officer Joe Morganella, who agreed to answer questions for this Q&A.
Edited for clarity.
Q: What brings you here today, Officer Morganella?
A: We’re are having Coffee With A Cop, which is one of our community events, where basically those of us [police] that can be here today engage with our populous with question and answer type things. How much do they know about their local police department and then we kind of fill them in on some of the unique aspects of the university police department.
Q: Have you found a lot of students willing to speak to the officers today?
A: Yes. Obviously the incentive is to get a free cup of coffee, but [you] know the willingness was also there to engage in some conversation to ask a couple of questions to find what it’s all about.
Q: Have you done this before, working with the community?
A: We have been running this program for a few years now. We also run several other community programs where we go out and do dormitory talks. If the R.A.s or the Hall Director or even some of the residents in a particular dorm say, “Hey can we have the cops come in and talk about a specific subject?” or “Can we have the cops come in and answer some questions?”  One or two officers on a shift will go in and see what it is that people want to talk about. We will either present a seminar type situation or we will just answer questions.
Q: Do you think these types of meetings and situations are beneficial to the UNH community?
A: Obviously these days, anything we can do to touch base with our community and keep our community engaged with us [police] is obviously helpful for the community.
Q: What types of topics have been brought up today?
A: We ask them [students] what they actually know about their police department, a lot of people know about the emergency call box system around campus. They know that we do escorts at night if they’re at the library studying late and feel a little apprehensive about walking. We have campus service officers that do walking and driving escorts up till 3 a.m. When they are no longer on duty, the police department is actually a 24-hour complement, so then the police department will provide escorts.

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