A Warren Police Department spokesman said police officers are not allowed to accept gratuities of any kind, after a woman visiting the East Bay saw an officer accept a free cup at a convenience store last Thursday.
The woman, who said she was visiting relatives in Barrington, stopped at the Cumberland Farms store near the East Bay Bike Path on Thursday, July 17. While waiting in line she saw a uniformed Warren police officer pour a cup of coffee and leave the store without paying for it.
“When I asked the manager about this, he said that Cumberland Farms stores has a long-standing store policy of giving free coffee to all police officers in uniform as well as corrections officers,” she wrote in an e-mail to the Warren Times-Gazette. “I was surprised by this. I know in New York City police are not permitted to do this, and that most police departments don’t allow this because they say it’s a slippery slope from accepting free coffee to payments. Every article I’ve read on this says it’s wrong.”
On Monday, Warren Police Department spokesman Lt. Roland Brule said that if the officer did accept coffee, he broke department policy. He said the Warren Police Department has a written policy that forbids officers from accepting gratuities of any kind, including coffee.