THIN BLUE LINE COFFEE went live at the very end of August 2016, and as expected of any new adventure, it started slow, but it has consistently grown - with your support.
We sell great tasting coffee! Those of you who took the chance and tried it, we owe you a debt of gratitude.
We started simply with a goal to make this "business" a convenient tool for people to donate to Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) , an organization that truly cares for all law enforcement officers and their families, and we've been successful. But we have a long way to go. This year "we" (as in all of us who have purchased from THIN BLUE LINE COFFEE) have donated $475 to CO.P.S. Not a huge amount, but a start! No, we're still not profitable or even at break even, but supporting C.O.P.S. is a core tenant of this endeavor and we're determined to honor our commitment whatever the sacrifice.
In our short 4 months of existence, we've grown on Facebook, Instagram and now Pinterest. We're working hard to build recognition of our products and goals and could use your support in helping to spread the word. The more we sell, the more we donate!
So, thank you all for your help in making this idea a reality!
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
― John Bunyan
On Saturday the 10th of December, 2016, I had the opportunity to attend the quarterly meeting of the Washington State Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S). What a heart warming meeting. In attendance were parents, children and siblings of officers who died as a result of working in law enforcement. To be honest, I had reservations that the meeting would be rather somber considering the topic, but it wasn't. It was a celebration of life and the desire to help others. It emphasized to me the true loss of those officers who were being represented, because if they were anything like the family members that attended this meeting, they were certainly people I would want to have in uniform.
My takeaway from the meeting:
- C.O.P.S. is a great organization doing great things for the families of fallen officers.
- They host retreats for the children, spouses, parents, siblings and other relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins) of fallen officers
- They officer counseling for colleagues of fallen officers.
- They offer counselling for the families of officers who commit suicide.
- They offer training in police academies to recruits entering law enforcement to learn to separate work from home life.
- They offer training to departments on how to handle the loss of an officer and the stress on department personnel that follows.
This is an organization that works very efficiently and offers great services to those in need. They have a 96.66 rating (out of 100) on Charity Navigator.
In the end, this meeting confirmed my decision to back them as the charity THIN BLUE LINE COFEE supports.
Okay, so this blog entry really doesn't help THIN BLUE LINE COFFEE but I do hope that it makes readers understand that our goal really is to help others and not shamelessly make money.
Since it is the holiday season and people are buying tons of stuff online, I wanted to bring to everyone's attention that Amazon has a program where they will donate a portion of each purchase to a charity the YOU designate (from their list of charities). The percentage they donate is 0.5% but multiply that times thousands and millions of purchases and it adds up.
You must sign up to have your purchases linked to a charity. The address is:
It is pretty simple to sign up and designate a charity. Then, when you want to purchase something from Amazon you must login through the smile.amazon.com link.
State chapters of Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) are listed as charities on the site. I chose the Washington State chapter to donate to, but you can choose whatever charity you want and can find on the site.
I have plans to sell THIN BLUE LINE COFFEE through Amazon, but it is not currently available there now - you can only buy it from this site at this time.
Bottom Line: This is the 'Season of Giving' so I hope you find it in your heart to take the time to designate a charity on Amazon and use smile.amazon.com to make online purchases. It costs you nothing but your time.
I posted the below image to Instagram on the 16th of November, how little did I know how predictive it would be considering what happened this past weekend.
Today, Sunday the 20th of November, 4 police officers were shot - all thought to be ambushes. One officer died and several were critically injured.
As can be seen on CNN - "Officers injured, slain in what appear to be targeted shootings"
This left me heart-broken. I mentioned this at breakfast and my eleven year old said he was very glad that I retired and he mentioned some of my peers who have also retired, but we have friends that are still working as police officers and we said a quick prayer for them. These shootings are so senseless.
It is hard to express how it feels to have friends and family in law enforcement, but I did find this video on CNN that does a pretty good job, "Cop's families: We worry everyday"
If you're an officer reading this, remember there are many of us who support you and have your back when you're out there keeping us safe at night.
You work hard for your money, so why spend it on THIN BLUE LINE COFFEE and its support of Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) charity? That's a fair question and one I'm sure many people ponder. There are a lot of good causes out there to support and you only have so much money, so why spend your money here?
I chose to support C.O.P.S. for several reasons.
1. They are a national organization. I wanted to help ALL law enforcement personnel across the country and C.O.P.S. allows me to do so.
2. Their mission statement:
Rebuilding shattered lives of survivors and co-workers affected by line-of-duty deaths through partnerships with law enforcement and the community.
- Providing emotional support for the surviving family members and the officer(s) colleagues through counselling.
- Providing retreats to allow families and officers a place to grieve and be with others who have gone through the same situations.
- To be a place that a grieving family member or officer can contact that is always willing to listen.
- Providing scholarships to surviving children to attend college.
3. Their recognition that law enforcement officers can suffer from cumulative stress caused by experiencing critical incidents throughout their career and offer proactive training to help departments recognize and assist the officers successfully navigate through the issues.
4. To offer training to help officers and departments prepare themselves in the event of a traumatic incident.
As a retired police sergeant, I started THIN BLUE LINE COFFEE because I wanted to create a way to give back that was bigger than me.
I thought that I could make a donation to C.O.P.S. and I'd feel good about it, but it would end there. That wasn't enough for me! I wanted to start something that would not only help one time, but if grown and nurtured could continuously give over and over again. I wanted to start a movement!
So, why coffee?
Coffee is something we take for granted. Wake up, drink a cup, get on with our lives. What if we transformed coffee into something bigger? What if the act of drinking coffee didn't just make a huge corporation richer, but actually helped the people we depend on but never really give much thought to?
Coffee is also something that we consume. We brew it, we drink it, repeat. It needs to be replaced so it can be an ongoing source of revenue for donations.
Coffee is the means to get on-going donations, plus THIN BLUE LINE COFFEE has the added benefit that it tastes great so donating is actually pleasurable.
I've described our donation model in an earlier blog, but the key takeaway is that if you buy from THIN BLUE LINE COFFEE you ARE making a donation to C.O.P.S. - there are no exceptions.
I hope you can find it in your heart to support this cause, to support C.O.P.S. and to buy from THIN BLUE LINE COFFEE to keep this source of donation revenue alive.
If we all give a little, it helps a lot!
This past week I was fortunate to attend the Berkeley Police Retirees League's annual luncheon, where I was able to catch up with many of my former teammates. It was a very uplifting and enjoyable event. I had the opportunity to talk about THIN BLUE LINE COFFEE and talk about the good work of C.O.P.S., which many retirees were familiar with already. It was also a time to reflect on the two Berkeley PD officers who never made it to retirement since they were killed in the line of duty, Officer Ronald Tsukamoto and Sergeant Jimmie H. Rutledge. The City of Berkeley has an online memorial to them:
For all those who have lost a relative or friend in the line of duty, or is now praying that a loved one recover from a line of duty injury - my thoughts and prayers are with you.