A Police Chief’s Message To LEOs On #BoycottStarbucks: ‘Let’s Be Better.’

A police chief’s response to last week’s boycott controversy should inspire us all.

Last week, on July 4th, following a customer’s complaint about the presence of police officers in the store, a Starbucks barista asked several members of the Tempe PD to leave the store.

The event quickly sparked outrage on Twitter and other social media platforms with a #BoycottStarbucks hashtag and prompted a formal apology from the coffee giant.

In response to all of the outrage, Christopher Mannino, Chief of Police at Park Forest Police Department posted a rather brilliant alternative on LinkedIn.

Although his message is geared to fellow members of law enforcement, his message should resonate with others as well.

Taking a cue from my social media news feeds, as a police officer I should be outraged that a Starbucks barista in Arizona asked 6 police officers to leave after a customer reported feeling “unsafe” due to their presence. #DumpStarbucks has even been trending on Twitter.

But I’m not outraged, exactly because I’m a police officer. As someone with over 2 decades in law enforcement, I’ve seen this irrational story play out far too often to law enforcement’s detriment. Somewhere, some cop does some stupid thing. People are outraged and brand all of law enforcement with whatever negative descriptor fits the incident du jour. We all suffer.

#Starbucks has a market capitalization of 106 billion dollars and nearly 300,000 employees all over the world. It’s irrational to make future purchasing decisions based on one employee’s improper handling of a situation. And for law enforcement, it’s a bit hypocritical.

There is a great teaching moment that is being squandered by law enforcement right now. Instead of dumping Starbucks, we should be highlighting our understanding that one moment by one employee doesn’t represent the whole. Instead, I fear we’re painting with the same over-used broad brush that prompted this incident. Let’s be better. [Emphasis added.]

Indeed, instead of #BoycottStarbucks, perhaps everyone should just…’be better.’

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