The Story of Cop Stop
Joanna Young

Cop Stop started as a conversation I had at a local park with a Germantown Police Officer while waiting to pick my children up from school.

At the beginning of the 2014 school year, dismissal traffic was extremely chaotic. Seeing how dangerous this was for the children walking home from school, I contacted the Germantown Police Department to see if we could get an officer to oversee the issue and help with traffic control. That’s when I met Officer Cook.

Officer Cook was at the park every day to help! As the weeks and months went by, we got to know each other and became friends. On one particular Friday in October, he asked what mine and Bob’s plans were for the weekend.
I told him, “Well, tonight is Friday Night Steak Night.” Obviously he didn’t know what that was, so I explained it to him.

Friday Night Steak Night was started twenty years ago when my husband was in the Marine Corps stationed in San Diego. We were the only married couple in the shop where he worked and we lived off base. We decided that we would have his friends – who lived in the barracks – over on Friday nights for dinner. Everyone would bring a steak and we would grill out and spend time with each other. This provided the other guys a place off-base to hang out and relax after a long week’s work and to build relationships with each other. We have continued this Friday Night tradition with friends and neighbors wherever we have lived.

When I told Officer Cook this, he asked the question that started Cop Stop: “So you mean to tell me if I brought a steak to your house, Bob would cook it for me?” I said, “Yes! No. Wait…why don’t you just come over for dinner and we will cook for you?…and invite the other officers in our district too.”

Bob and I made an appointment with Deputy Chief Rodney Bright and told him that we wanted to open our home to provide a place for Germantown Police Officers to come and have a home-cooked meal in a relaxed setting. Seeing as this fell right along with the community policing that GPD does, he was very excited to support us in this. So, the next Friday night, Cop Stop began.

We gathered our neighbors and cooked; Officers showed up – even Officer Cook, who was off-duty, brought his family – and we kept on providing a meal. Every other Friday night. More officers came. And we slowly went from the “awkward first date” to family!

I asked my children what they wanted to start calling this meal we were having with our new friends. My son said, “Cop Stop!!!” I asked him why? And He said, “Because the cops will stop! Duh!”

As we kept serving, more and more officers came. In April 2015, I started hearing that there was a need for Cop Stops on the east side of town as officers were switching with each other in order to come to our home on the west side of town.

I posted on the Germantown Bulletin Board Facebook Page what we were doing and that I was looking for one family on the east side to commit to hosting Cop Stops once or twice a month. Between the comments on that post and the private messages I received, seventy-five Germantown residents enthusiastically wanted to be involved. Coordinators stepped forward and we quickly organized.

As time has gone on, more and more people have felt the call to serve their officers and have brought Cop Stop into their own communities all over Memphis, Bartlett, Cordova, Collierville, Arlington, Lakeland, Oakland and Shelby County and even to six states and counting.

Bob and I are extremely humbled that God would choose us to start this God-sized mission to bring LEOs and the communities they serve together and we are grateful for the many others who have chosen to come along and serve those who serve us!