La Jolla and University City residents got two hours of face time with officers of San Diego Police’s Northern Division during Coffee With a Cop, an informal gathering Oct. 4 inside the McDonald’s at 4260 Nobel Drive.
Over free coffee and cookies, each resident grabbed a table with an officer or two to discuss whatever they wanted. Most had specific problems with neighbors, street parking and traffic congestion. But almost every conversation eventually turned to the strain placed on La Jolla and University City by their burgeoning homeless populations, and what cops could do about it.
The answer: not much, since being homeless is not against the law.
“We have a Quality of Life team here at Northern that consists of one sergeant and four officers who address quality-of-life issues throughout our entire division,” Lt. Erwin Manansala explained to University City resident Jan Price. “So if you have complaints about the criminal elements of the homeless population, that team is designed to deal with that. People who are committing burglaries and petty thefts, that sort of thing, that’s specifically what the team targets.”
The proceedings were interrupted for a birthday celebration for community services officer Brandon Broaddus, who turned both 47 and beet red when the entire McDonald’s staff emptied out of the kitchen to sing “Happy Birthday.”
“I will never tell you when my birthday is again!” Broaddus told a fellow officer.