Engines were purring and coffee was pouring April 29 for the first Cars, Cops and Coffee event at the Tustin Police Department.
Porsches pulled in next to old Ford pickups. A Nash was there. A 1939 Plymouth “Woodie” station wagon was a star feature, and a trio of sleek new McLaren sport cars (collectively worth nearly $800,000) were all on display in the parking lot in front of the police station.
Alongside the collectors and their cars were several Tustin police officers and their vehicles, which included patrol cars, police motorcycles and a CSI vehicle. Kids got the chance to pick up a battering ram and stand behind a shield. A few kids even got to sit on the motorcycle.
All of the ooos, ahhhs and friendly Saturday morning chat was brought together by the Tustin PD’s Sgt. Del Pickney and McLaren Newport Beach salesman Travis Tomlinson, who’d met at a Cops and Coffee event a few months earlier.
Tomlinson says he and his friends went to a previous event to “meet our local officers.”
But as a bona fide “car guy,” something occurred to him.
As Pickney and Tomlinson agreed about the importance of community outreach, Tomlinson pointed out that “car meets often get shut down by police, so if we had the cars with the Cops and Coffee here at the police department, guys could ask questions about their vehicles.”
A few Saturdays later, the idea became action.
“It’s been nice. People have been socializing,” Tomlinson says. “The more we do this, the bigger it’ll be.”
Pickney believes the combination of the car meet with a Cops and Coffee event was an ideal way to bring the groups together.
“We just want to engage the public in a low-stress encounter,” Pickney says. “We just want to break down barriers, and this is more of an educational experience.”
Officer Jeremy Laurich of Tustin’s traffic unit says the apprehension some car clubbers had quickly evaporated.
“Some thought it was going to be a trap,” Laurich chuckles. “That’s not what this event is about. We’re happy to answer any questions they have. We’re not here to ruin anyone’s day.”
But even Laurich was surprised to see how well the first event has gone off, which promises more to come.
He says with a big smile, “Everyone has been super nice today.”