SPOKANE, Wash. - Hoopfest is over, but basketball never stops in Spokane, and if your kids are still looking to play one of Spokane's favorite sports they might want to check out the Police Activity League.
The program started last spring and in the time the league has been operating it has added more volunteers and grown the program, including disc golf this year. Participating in the league is an opportunity to keep the kids busy during the summer and change the way they think about the police in their neighborhood.
"It's really awesome because you get to hang out with cops and shoot hoops," Dimitri Hagin said. "I learned pivot and learned how to dribble below your wast last year."
But more importantly, kids like Dimitri have learned to have more confidence.
"They figure out that they have a sport now that they can really excel in and that is something that their parents never saw.," Tommy Williams said.
Williams' non-profit, Operation Healthy Family, is one of the few community partners working with the police. Thanks to his program this year disc golf is part of the league.
"Some of them didn't feel comfortable playing basketball because they weren't as good at it as they would like to be, as like their other friends. But now with disc golf what we see is the kids that don't play regular sports, now they're playing this new alternative sport that they can excel in," Williams explained.
Last year the program had 30 spots for kids to play in the basketball league. This year they have 50 spots, while 30 kids will be able to participate in the disc golf league, which lasts all summer and the cost is low
"It's really cool because you get free t-shirts and back packs and stuff," Levi Martinez said.
Levi and Caleb Martinez get the fact that these adults are here on their own time.
"I think it is pretty cool and generous and nice of them to do this and I thank them," Caleb Martinez said.
This is all part of Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub's plan to make his officers more accessible, more human to the average citizen. Now, these kids are becoming friends with these officers.
"[It] helps even in situations where we may have to come into their home on a call and they recognize us and are comfortable with us and are able to bring them some peace and some comfort," Spokane Police Lieutenant Tracie Meidl said.
"When the officers are shooting hoops right next to the kids and the parents are watching it is just heartwarming to everyone," Officer Jennifer DeRuwe added.
The first day for the police activity league is July 9. For more information on how your kids can participate or how you can volunteer with the program check out their website here.
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