Coffee with a cop returns after two years


Nataly Aguiar

Pictured left to right are Chief of Police Andy Le Beau, Lieutenant Brian Bumgarner, Sergeant Casey Miller, Yolanda Adams, Officer Kat Eller, and Officer Derrick Zamora who pose for a picture, Oct. 25, 2022.

Nataly Aguiar, Reporter

After a two-year hiatus, Cafe con Leche con un Policía, or “Cappuccino con un Latino,” was held at Crosspoint Church Tuesday evening. 

The event was presented by Q’Pasa Appalachia, a blog run by Yolanda Adams who is described by the community as being “entregada a su trabajo” or dedicated to her work. 

Hispanic members of Watauga County voiced their concerns to the Boone Police Department and Watauga County Sheriff’s Office over coffee provided by Kovu’s Coffee and baked goods provided by Stick Boy Bread Company. 

The event began with an introduction from officers Kat Eller, Derrick Zamora, Lt. Brian Bumgarner, Sgt. Casey Miller and Chief of Police Andy Le Beau. A translator helped communicate their message.

After everyone finished their introductions, it was now the crowds turn to get to know each other. A get-to-know-you bingo was held  as an icebreaker for the estimated 40 people turnout to get comfortable with each other and the officers. 

Afterward, a game of trivia was held where questions like: “How many Hispanics live in the U.S. according to the 2020 census data?” were asked to the officers, and “How much does an officer’s vest weigh with all its equipment on it?” was asked to the community. Three members of the crowd and two officers won, with the prize being tickets to Grandfather Mountain. 

Guests listen to Officer Kat Eller. (Nataly Aguiar)

To finish off the event, a discussion and questionnaire was held where members of the audience were given the opportunity to address the officers in attendance, where they voiced their concerns and questions on personal issues they faced with the department, and harassment which was directed toward the Hispanic community within Watauga County. 

During the discussion officers mentioned how the department holds free self defense classes for the community, and demonstrated to the crowd where officers wear their body cameras. They also informed others how anyone can file a complaint or report an incident they had to the department and how to do so. “It was great teaming up with Q’Pasa Appalachia and Watauga County Sheriff’s Office to spend time hearing the voices of our beautiful Latino Community,” said Boone Police on its Facebook page about the event. 

Twenty years ago Adams settled in Boone, but is originally from Bogota, Colombia. Adams created the facebook account Q’Pasa Appalachia April 2020 during the pandemic to “empower the Latino community” 

“We have to be united,” Adams said. 

In a recent post on Adam’s blog she described the event as one where “we continued to build bridges that strengthen our beautiful community.” Q’Pasa Appalachia is part of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce, and hosts events like the feria latina and self defense classes. On her blog Adams posts about events, changes happening in the Boone area, volunteering opportunities and more. 

Yelisa Leiva is a Cuban representative with Oasis Inc., a free and confidential organization that serves survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault spoke about the services they offer. One of Oasis goals is to de-stigmatize the nature of violence in the Hispanic community, “to make a safe space” said Leiva. 

“Our culture of togetherness is a real strength,” Leiva said. 

Ben Williamson, the Western Regional Organizing Manager of a non-profit organization known as “Down Home North Carolina” was also in attendance. Described as a group of rural working people in North Carolina’s small towns who take action on fundamental issues that affect housing, healthcare, education, wages and jobs. 

The organization wants to “reach the Latino community” to learn and work on issues that most concern the community, Williamson said.