Police and Community
PAL’s century-old history is founded on the principle that the police and the communities they serve both benefit when they have positive and productive relationships with one another. PAL has an array of programs and activities that help bridge an oft perceived divide between the NYPD and the neighborhood residents they serve. PAL’s special connection with the NYPD allows police officers to work closely with our PAL youth throughout the city, serving as role models, mentors, and positive influences.
In our Cops and Kids Sports Programs, officers bond with our kids all year round playing basketball, flag football, baseball, volleyball and soccer games. Police Officers also serve as volunteer coaches to neighborhood youth. In addition, older youth play on competitive sports teams with police officers, competing with them, learning from them, and developing meaningful relationships.
PAL’s Junior Police Club connects elementary school students with the NYPD through local precinct visits, crime prevention workshops, and community service projects. Hundreds of children throughout the City participate in this club, which offers an opportunity to learn about police work. It allows for neighborhood police to develop relationships with community youth.
In our annual “Police Commissioner for a Day” essay contest, open to high school students throughout the city, contestants write about how they would solve an existing crime/community problem, were they the Police Commissioner. The contest gives students a chance to research a problem they may currently experience, and express themselves and their solutions to local police officials. Contest winners get the unique opportunity to spend an entire day at Police Headquarters with Commissioner Bratton and other top officials.
In addition to our formal programs, officers at local precincts are a constant presence in our centers, playing games with kids and helping students with their homework after school. Our teens participate in powerful workshops entitled: “Operation Conversation, Cops and Kids”. These workshops, facilitated by a partner non-profit –The All-Stars Project – help facilitate interaction and understanding among police officers and community youth.