Sports can be a good way to come together, and that’s what police in Prince George’s County, Maryland, are trying to do with the pop-up basketball games through an effort called Hoops With a Cop.
The first event was held at the Avenue Apartments in Forestville on Monday.
“At times we depend on the community,” said Thomas Lester, spokesman with Prince George’s County police. “It all starts with the community, the community feeling comfortable coming to us and talking to us, so events like this builds that relationship and brings that engagement.”
Officers and students in the Explorers Program, for students ages 14 to 20 interested in learning more about law enforcement and possible careers, were playing basketball together in friendly competition.
And the basketball hoop is brand new.
It was donated from a local Target, and the police department decided to use it for this program.
“This just goes full circle. It started with an interaction with one of our businesses here in the District 8 community. We took that and brought it right back into the community,” Lester said.
It wasn’t about how many baskets they scored — although they were doing their best — but for officers, the program is more about connecting with the community.
“There are officers out here that care, and we want that message to go all across the county — that we’re loving; we’re caring. We want to build that rapport, so that way, people will come talk to us,” Lester said.
They will continue the program with games in more neighborhoods in the area.