For a cup of coffee, a kingdom was lost


For a cup of coffee, a kingdom was lost

Today I read an online article from the New York Post about a Dunkin Donuts employee refusing to serve to NYPD officers because they were cops. Local Police Union officials called for a boycott and hope it goes nationwide. More and more we read about instances like this. One gym refuses to allow police to join their membership. Parts of society feel they don’t need police officers and would prefer not to have them around.

I have to laugh. I know what is going to happen. Every police officer knows what’s going to happen. It is going to happen nationwide and get worse long before it improves.

Back in late 1984 I was a strapping young buck, fleet of foot and dashing in my ways. I worked as a new police officer in a district that was very diverse. We had gangs and wealthy people, blue collar homes and housing projects. There was a great night life and many residences. There was plenty to keep you interested as a young cop without feeling overwhelmed. At the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Addison, there is a Dunkin Donuts. During the day, there were several grey-haired ladies who worked the counter. By the way, they actually made the donuts in the shop back then. There was always a crowd for lunch and coffee. People loved their soups. It was too crowded for us back then so we usually went elsewhere during daylight hours.

The owner was no fool. He understood the neighborhood. He recruited girls from the local high schools to work evenings and midnights. He wanted the police officers to frequent his store so these girls were very cute. Because of these cute girls, there was always a squad going in and out for a cup and a visit. This had been his practice for years. For the price of a cup of coffee, he had armed security. We did nothing wrong. We get to have lunch and take a personal break like everyone else.

Even on nights when it was too busy to stop in you would see squads drive through the parking lot and shine their spot light inside to say hello. People in the area knew it was a safe after-hours place for a cup of coffee, donut or bowl of soup. The owner’s business prospered and he made money. The officers grew protective of the girls and made sure they were safe. I know that often they would get a ride home at the end of their work shift if they needed it.

It wasn’t all lecherous old coppers drooling over the cute girls. The female officers in the district stopped in there too because they felt welcome and they became friends with the girls too. The bathrooms were clean and the coffee fresh. In the winter, it was nice to stop in for something warm and clean.

The location was centrally located. The streets at that intersection were fast at night. If something happened you could get to your job from Dunkin without much traffic. No one remembered that Dunkin store ever having trouble. Then one day the owner announced he was selling the store. He wanted to retire. I can appreciate that. He had put in many hard years and it was time to take it easy. He sold his store to a Pakistani immigrant who let the cute girls and old ladies go. He replaced them with his family members. Coffee was no longer free as he was quick to point out to us. The officers stopped dropping in. in a short time, word got around the district that we weren’t welcome and we all found new spots for a cup.

Well, I’m sure you know what happened next. Yep, in the first month after the store sold gunmen twice robbed them. Soon the regulars who would stop by at night found somewhere else safer to go. The people who started going in were not a friendly element and scared people away.

This was not a drive through store, so you had to park and go in. No one was going in after it got dark. Even though we all drove past it several times a tour it no longer was special to us. I stopped by several years later when I was working a detail. It was dirty, the washroom was filthy. I bought a cup of coffee and left. It has changed hands a couple times since then and was torn down and rebuilt with a drive through.

See the sad thing was this new owner didn’t understand what a deterrent the police were by being there. He didn’t understand we were good for business. We made him money by driving through his parking lot.

The fact was, we would have continued to frequent his business, but he no longer made us feel welcome. He treated us as a nuisance. We would have kept stopping in but there were other places that made us welcome.

Society is doing this to the police officers around our country. Not just in coffee shops but on every street. Parents are letting their children flip off passing squad cars. They are teaching their young that they don’t need to obey a police officer. Of course, when a store gets robbed or a car pulls up and shoots into a group of school kids on a corner the police are blamed for not have been proactive and preventing it.

This isn’t the first time the pendulum has swung this way. It seems that way for most of us but it has happened before. The pendulum will swing back the other way. It usually goes from one extreme to another.

Robert Weisskopf is a retired Chicago police lieutenant. In thirty years, he rose from police officer to sergeant, to lieutenant, serving every role in patrol with 18 months detailed to the Department of Housing and Urban Development leading a team for narcotics enforcement. He became a member of the Lieutenants Union. He served as its’ president for six years negotiating two contracts. He also served as vice president of the Illinois Police Benevolent Protective Association. He’s a divorced father with three sons.

(Photo: Google Maps)

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Robert Weisskopf

Robert Weisskopf is a retired Chicago police lieutenant. In thirty years, he rose from police officer to sergeant, to lieutenant, serving every role in patrol with 18 months detailed to the Department of Housing and Urban Development leading a team for narcotics enforcement. He became a member of the Lieutenants Union and served as its’ president for six years negotiating two contracts. He also served as vice president of the Illinois Police Benevolent Protective Association. He’s a divorced father with three sons. You can view my website at BobWeisskopf.com.


I have nothing to add. He said it all and with his personal insights much better than 99% of us could. Thank you for your service and intellect.

John, thank you for your positive feedback. If you can please hit LIKE and SHARE this article to your Facebook page.

Bob Weisskopf

Great example Bob and a great illustration of the free market at work. Business owners express their prejudice at their own economic peril.


A very accurate description! Nicely done!

Jack Gibbons

Jack, How are you. Thanks for the feed back. Please LIKE and SHARE it on Facebook if you can. Take care.


Great article, so true. Unfortunately there are so many people who just don’t get it. The respect level in the country seems to have disappeared, not only for other people but also for themselves. I hope your right and the pendulum will swing back. If not I think we are doomed!!! Maybe we could start with something as simple as the “Golden Rule” …. although I feel so many people weren’t even taught this. So sad…….

Cathy, you’re right. People don’t get it. Respect that was once common place is gone. I do believe the pendulum will swing back sadly it may not have gone all the way in its current direction. As far as the Golden Rule sometimes if feels like it was stolen and melted down. I am glad you enjoyed the article and would appreciate your LIKE and then Share it on your facebook page.
Thank you

Bob Weisskopf

I’m glad you liked it. Thank you. if you can please Like the article on Facebook and then Share it to your timeline.


Bob Weisskopf

I totally agree, I just retired from Law Enforcement in May and it seems all the Military gets glorified but the Police are looked down on by the citizens they protect.

So true. We have always been feared to a degree and that served a purpose. Today we get flipped off and sworn at by everyone. To a great degree it is the fault of the politicians and the pulpit. I hope you enjoyed the article and would appreciate if you could LIKE and SHARE it on Facebook.

Bob Weisskopf

Well said Lt. Weisskopf . . .

A lot of civilians support and back the Blue- they just do not own the TV Networks and other Media outlets.

There is a war on the Police nationwide and we must do whatever it takes to win it.

We Know that Blue Lives Matter . . .More.

Thank you for your support. It is never an easy job for sworn police officers anywhere. We realize there is a lot of support and you are correct there are few media sources that are pro police. Law Enforcement Today is one of the few. Everyone is either a retired or active sworn police officer.
Please take a moment and LIKE and SHARE this article on your Facebook timeline if you can.

Thank you

Bob Weisskopf.

We hung out there as kids when it was a new shop!

My dad was at Town Hall. My uncle at Damen Ave.

Then you know it once was a very nice place.

Bob Weisskopf

And thats called good will in the language of business.

you’re correct. It is just good business.

Thank you

Bob Weisskopf

Feel free to share this on your Facebook page.

It’s as if you were talking about my experience as a young state trooper in Texas in the late 70’s and early 80’s! There were several coffee shops I would stop where it was clear they were glad to see me, especially during the night shift. Hard as I always tried, they would not take my money for a cup of Joe and a treat. So I always made it a point to at least drive by every night and be seen. Places like 7/11 or circle K loved us stopping by! I was stationed in west Texas and we would occasionally drive to Austin for supplies, training or whatever. I could stop at any little town at any store and they would refuse my money. It was almost embarrassing. I have been retired now for 5 years after 34 years as a cop at the State and Federal levels. I am very saddened with what is happening and feel terrible about how officers are treated today, This is a noble profession and I know a lot of good men and women have dedicated their lives to it. I hope you are right and that the pendulum changes soon because this can not continue.

Thank you for sharing your experiences. Yes I think the pendulum will swing back only problem is I’m not sure it’s reached the end of this swing yet. There are a lot of good men and women in blue and there are a lot of people who appreciate what they do for them. Sadly right now it is the other people in charge of business and media for he most part. It won’t happen until the crime directly affects them.


Bob Weisskopf

Brilliant! 100% Accurate…we have a 24-hour place in our small city that has flat out told us he doesn’t want the police frequently his store because they are “bad for business.” But of course he expects pronto action when they call with problems (which is at least one every couple of days)…Can’t have it both way Sir….

Liz as a retired deputy i know exactly what you are saying. I server during
the 60-70 at that time there were riots in just about every major city firemen were shot at in Cleveland Ohio and other cities. About this time the shootings at Kent State Univ. happened, we as officers took the blame for it but no officer fired a shot it was the Ohio National guard who killed the students. Things were not safe for us back then either but we survived. I just wanted you to know then as now no police officer is safe where ever they work. The best i can say is DON’T trust anybody even some of your fellow officers. Please take care of yourself, and remember what i just told you. God Bless you and all police officers.

I remember the Kent State shooting well. I happened because they put people in positions they weren’t trained to handle. It is also a turning point in the on campus movement. Here in Chicago we had the convention riots and the MLK riots. Parts of the city burned for days.

Thank you for your contribution

Bob Weisskopf

While free soda and coffee is nice what keeps the police stopping in is being welcomed. No business can afford to drive away a customer. It’s stupid. Imagine a business posting a sign that says plumbers not welcome. Plumbers will remember that when their pipes freeze in the winter. Sure they will respond but it probably wont be the first call on their list the next day. People don’t understand you need to make people welcome if you want a business to survive.

Thank you and if you can please LIKE and SHARE this on your facebook page

Bob Weisskopf

First lieutenant let me thank you for your service you said it beautifully I worked at a subway sub shop in a bad neighborhood I worked Friday and Saturday nights till 2 or 3 in the morning because nobody wanted to work it I wasn’t there long before the police would come in and introduce themselves I would give them free sandwiches drinks they would come inside in the back room and talk and soon other people work not afraid to come at night or afraid to work at night I even had my mother working there and my sister working there at night never a single problem it’s a shame these people can’t go on patrol with you and see what you really deal with I love when people will be protesting the police and as soon as like the time they had that sniper shooting into the crowd who did they run behind the police as the other person said you cannot have it both ways I come from a family of police officers that worked in St Louis County during the Ferguson incident and continue to work there thank you to all the men and women in blue who put their lives on the line everyday shame on the people that will give the finger and disrespect the police officers

Mary Beth
Thank you. It’s nice to know some people understand. Please feel free to LIKE and SHARE this on your Facebook page

Bob Weisskopf

One McDonalds was forced to close after being routinely robbed at gun point. Months earlier the manager told police officers waiting in line to order, that they were welcome to come in and get a free sandwich, but they were not welcomed to sit inside and eat. It seemed that some locals were “intimidated” by the simple presence of uniformed police officers eating lunch. The manager strongly suggested the officers take their food and eat it elsewhere. Needless to say, police stopped frequenting this McDonalds and as we all new, the place was routinely robbed. It eventually was too dangerous to stay open and was closed permanently. This was the only McDonalds I have ever heard of closing for this reason. Good article Lieutenant.

Thank you Larry. Here the business catered to the people who ran them out of business instead of the people who would have helped it thrive


Bob Weisskopf

Thank you for your service. Attended the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center KLETC in 1980 and am still working as a police chief. Thank you for this article very well said Yes have watched the pendulum swing and I believe it will swing back our way soon. Thanks again LT. Be safe my Brother. MS-40

Thank you for your positive feed back

Bob Weisskopf

I have always felt more secure and safe when there are uniformed officers taking a well deserved break. I now live in a very small town and the Deputy that responds to this area is always welcomed. When our small volunteer fire department has an event, we make sure that all Deputies and EMT’s are invited. I came from a big city, Stockton, CA and a long line of law enforcement. Police, Sheriff and Corrections. My pray is that every person comes home safely. God Bless!!!

Thank you Sherrie
What you describe is how a bond develops between the citizens and the officers. The officers will always do their best for you but when that bond exists is when they go above and beyond.

Thank you

Please LIKE and SHARE this on your Facebook timeline if you can

Bob Weisskiopf

Great read and soooooo very true. Been a cop in Houston, Texas for over 20 years and I have seen this very thing in my short time in the business. Take care!!


Stay safe. As a Lt I worked for always said to end roll call “Run low and zig zag.”

Bob Weisskopf

Bob….what a great story. I’m a retired Police Officer with thirty two years, mostly patrol. Came on the job in 1969 and retired in Feb. 2002. This is one of the best stories that I have read. With your permission, I would like to print this story out and post it in my office. The story really hit home to me…….really great.
Thanks for the memories!!!


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