The Police and Community Athletic League are bringing the community’s youth and Utica Police together again but this time with a kickball league. Today would have been the kick off but due the weather, had to be cancelled.
Back in November the Access and Inclusion committee held a video game competition with Utica Police and kids from the community. With such a great turn out they wanted to do a sport in the spring.
“We decided on a kickball tournament. We felt like it was inclusive, you don’t really need any skill to play kickball so we felt like it was better than saying let’s play baseball, let’s play basketball, something where people might feel left out.” —-Stephanie Heiland, Chair of the Access and Inclusion Committee
Heiland says all types of engagement with the community and police is important, “Especially with the youth to build upon having positive interactions. You know if you start at a young age, idolizing cops or seeing them a real people you kind of can grow up with that same type of feeling about them verses being a teenager and watching the news and seeing what everybody else is thoughts are. I think when you give kids the opportunity to interact with cops and also cops to interact with kids, it really breaks down that barrier of like you are a cop and I’m an inner city kid and it allows them to form positive relationships.”
“Through police reform as well as access and inclusion we’ve come to the terms that we need a police athletic league, to get people out there to put a human face on the police. To engage the youth of this community so that positive relationships can be built. We don’t want our officers just to be the patrol car that passes by or just the guy that we have in uniform that they see on calls. We want them to be a member of the community as well to partner with so that positive relationships build in the future.”
The league will be every Wednesday this month from 4-6pm at the East Utica Little League. Utica Police and kids will play on teams together. Children in grades 6-12 can sign up at uticapcal.com.