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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)- The new ‘Coffee with a Cop’ program is being launched today by St. Louis police to try to make our neighborhoods safe. City officers learned all about the program during a training session Wednesday afternoon at police headquarters on Olive. Under this program, citizens can sit down with police over a ‘Cup of Joe’ and talk about various issues. The goal is for police to improve trust with citizens and build stronger community relationships.

Participants met with uniformed officers at McDonald’s located at 4979 Natural Bridge, 1119 Tucker in downtown St. Louis and at Hardee’s located at 4202 South Broadway from 7-9a.m.

The program was launched by police in Hawthorne, California back in 2011. A Department of Justice grant has put the program into action in ten regions around the United States. It has also been used internationally.

St. Louis police are looking for innovative ways to fight crime in the city. The latest two murders Tuesday night brought the total number of homicides so far this year in the city to 118.

Chief Sam Dotson has said repeatedly that a big challenge to fighting crime is getting witnesses and others to talk to police. They hope this program can help break down those barriers.