Cops Play Basketball With Teens To Promote Peace In Community
Police and kids from an Erie, PA community spent their Friday night doing something great. The two groups came together to "Play for Peace'' with a community basketball game.
Members of the Erie Crossover Basketball Program, a Christian-centered program, featured 15 players -- boys and girls -- ages 10 through 17, and the Erie Bureau of Police and others from law enforcement used the game to promote peace in the community.
The basketball game was designed to improve relationships between the Erie community and the Erie police. Montrel Burns, 16, a member of the Erie Crossover team, dedicated his performance to Elijah Jackson and Shakur Franklin, two 16-year-old friends who were shot to death July 24.
"I lost a couple of friends this summer to violence,'' Burns, a junior at the Perseus House Charter School of Excellence, said before the game. "I loved my friends and I'm just going to give this game to them. Elijah was playing on my basketball team. It's still a game and we're going to have fun and, hopefully, we take the victory.''
"I'm here to support the whole operation,'' Police Chief Randy Bowers said. "Any time you get police officers interacting with young people, it's a plus.''
The organizers and participants know it won't solve all the violence issues but it's a huge step in the right direction.