INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The city’s surging crime impacts young people in our community, and outreach programs across Indianapolis are working to make positive impacts on our young people.
Indy’s PAL (Police Athletic and Activities League) program offers youth a chance to be a part of sports team and build relationships with IMPD officers.
“It’s so important that we build that relationship with our youth when they’re young so they can see the police in a positive light,” Officer Shawn Anderson said. “So, if they need us, they can come to us.”
Based on the season, the PAL program offers baseball, football and basketball to children ages 9 to 18. Kendall Stevenson signed his children up several years ago.
“The things that are going on in the world today, and all the conflict and things like that, I think that they younger youth need to be around police officers to see that you don’t have to be afraid of officers,” Stevenson explained.
Stevenson notices the program builds confidence in his kids.
“You can’t follow the crowd and you can’t believe everything that you see or hear,” Stevenson said. “You have to think for yourself.”
The program goes beyond the practice and games for parents and police. Officers use it as a tool to start meaningful conversations with the players.
“”Those were once kids at some point,” Sgt. Larry Adkins said. “So, somewhere along the line, there was some influence or some interruption in their lives dealing with a lot of issues, the disproportionalities, educational system, food deserts, socio-economic issues, those effect kids.”
Officers do not want the cost to prevent children from participating in PAL. You can learn more information by visiting indypal.org.