TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Starbucks officials were in Tempe Sunday to try to sweeten up their relationship with the Tempe Police Department after a recent incident where a group of Tempe police officers was asked to leave one of the chain’s Tempe locations over the 4th of July holiday.
The group of police officers was asked to leave a Starbucks shop by a barista because another customer “did not feel safe,” according to the Tempe Officers Association.
"Tempe Police Chief Moir has engaged in conversation with Starbucks executives which will continue today and tomorrow," said Tempe police spokesman Ron Elcock.
"This has been an opportunity to work together to strengthen our communal relationship. The Tempe Police Department prides itself in reducing harm within the community along with partnering with various entities who conduct business in our community."
Officials with Starbucks confirmed that Executive V.P. and President of U.S. retail, Rossann Williams, flew into Phoenix Saturday in order to meet with Tempe’s police Chief Sylvia Moir on Sunday to talk about the incident that happened last Thursday.
In a letter to Tempe's Chief Moir, 'An Apology to the Tempe Police Department', dated July 7, Williams explains the purpose of her visit to Tempe:
Dear Chief Moir and the entire Tempe Police Department,
Thank you, Chief Moir, for the conversation today. On behalf of Starbucks, I want to sincerely apologize to you all for the experience that six of your officers had in our store on July 4.
When those officers entered the store and a customer raised a concern over their presence, they should have been welcomed and treated with dignity and the utmost respect by our partners (employees). Instead, they were made to feel unwelcome and disrespected, which is completely unacceptable.
At Starbucks, we have deep appreciation for your department and the officers who serve the Tempe community. Our partners rely on your service and welcome your presence, which keeps our stores and the community a safe and welcoming place.
Our strong relationship with the Tempe Police Department has provided us the opportunity to host several “Coffee with a Cop” events in area stores, which bring residents and police together to discuss relevant issues and find common ground. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship with you, and we agree that the experience of your officers requires an important dialogue – one that we are committed to being part of.
What occurred in our store on July 4 is never the experience your officers or any customer should have, and at Starbucks, we are already taking the necessary steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again in the future.
I will be in Tempe this evening and welcome the opportunity to meet with any of you in person to address concerns or questions.
executive vice president, president U.S. Retail
Starbucks Coffee Company
Officials with the Tempe Police Department say Chief Moir has engaged in conversation with Starbucks executives which will continue on Sunday.
We asked Starbucks customers what they thought about the controversial incident.
"I thought it was kind of ridiculous," said Robby West. "I’ve worked in restaurants most my life and if cops want to come in, they’re more than welcome to. All the time I’ve worked in restaurants, I’ve kind of felt a little safer when they’re around."
"They definitely shouldn’t be offended by the customer not feeling safe," said Nikayla Shaw. "They should really take that and look at it, observe it, see why and what they can change to make people feel trusting and more safe with the police force."
David Redonda disagrees with how the employee handled the situation.
"[They] should be scolded, and maybe be told to take a couple days off with pay maybe," said Redonda. "I don’t wanna take no money out of a person’s mouth."
"If someone feels unsafe, I feel like they were right with asking them to leave because I feel like no one should have to not feel safe in the environment that they’re in," said Shaw.
Sergeant Rob Ferraro, president of the Tempe Officers Association released a statement Sunday regarding the recent news:
"We would like to thank the public for the overwhelming support shown to our officers in the aftermath of this unfortunate incident. We are encouraged that Starbucks has reached out to our organization and to the Tempe Police Department to apologize and to further express their support of law enforcement.
"We hope that out of this unfortunate incident there comes a welcome dialogue, one that more closely unites the men and women on the frontlines of police work with the communities we serve and protect."
Then on Monday afternoon, the Tempe Officers Association and President Rob Ferraro released an updated statement:
"This afternoon, the six Tempe police officers asked to move or to leave a Tempe Starbucks on July 4, 2019, met with the company’s leadership and Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir. The meeting went very well. Starbucks again sincerely apologized for its role in the incident. In turn, the officers involved were given the opportunity to express in person their concerns over what happened. They came away from the meeting feeling heard and respected.As we have said previously, the Tempe Officers Association very much hopes that this incident reaffirms the important and strong connection between our officers and our community. We also hope we can continue to work in partnership with Starbucks and the Tempe PD on positive initiatives like “Coffee With A Cop.”
While this situation may have started steeped in negativity, we remain determined to turn it into a positive moment for one and all."
"Over the past few days, Executives of Starbucks, Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir, the Tempe Officers Association and members of the Tempe Police Department have engaged in meaningful and positive dialogue related to the incident that occurred on July 4, 2019. Both organizations and the individuals involved in the meetings remain committed to serving and safeguarding communities while fostering inclusiveness, dignity and respect. This will be the final statement regarding this incident as we are working to move forward."