Mutual trust, the goal of Spokane Police Activities League Hoopfest team

Mutual trust, the goal of Spokane Police Activities League Hoopfest team

It was weeks of practice and relationship building, but on Saturday the Police Activities League Hoopfest team, the cleverly named Swag Pass Dunk team, took to the streets in their first Hoopfest matchups.

“We are out here doing what we need to do, getting things done,” said Shea Russell.

The Spokane Police Activities League is aimed at developing trusting relationships with Spokane youth, especially ones that come from families with criminal backgrounds.

Saturday’s team proudly wore their uniforms, boasting Spokane Police Department badges.

“It is so amazing that they are willing to wear the badge in the middle of Spokane,” said Jennifer Deruwe, Spokane Police Department Outreach Officer.

She says racial tensions between police and communities of colour is something that they are hoping to overcome by supporting these teams.

The players, conscious of those tensions, say working and practicing with the police, has really opened their minds.

“Now I don’t feel that way at all,” said Keondre Harris, “you just have to get to know them, talk with them.”