Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308
Friday, September 25, 2020 at 8:39 a.m.
While COVID -19 cancelled so many camp programs this summer, the Police Activities League, known as “PAL” partnered with the YMCA to make sure cops and kids could still safely spend time together.
“They had fun with us and we had fun with them. And they teach us lessons; respect, honesty, integrity,” recalled Hunter Solanar.
“They said integrity means doing the right thing even when no one is watching,” added Riggin Roberts.
PAL helps children connect with officers on a level playing field. Sports are a great way for kids to find some common ground, which leads to a better understanding of the role police play in our community.
“And it’s something that hopefully a child will take forward with them as they go through school and into adulthood. They’ll remember ‘I met Mike the cop and he played baseball with me and we talked about integrity, we talked about respect or we talked about leadership.’ And it really does pay off,” stressed Sgt. Mike Schneider of the Spokane Police Department.
PAL teaches students more than just how to make a good layup.
Kids are also coached on how to protect themselves from crime and urged to look to officers for help whenever youngsters are afraid.
“If I was lost, I would talk to a police officer and tell them I was lost and see if they could help me find my family,” Kaedyn Cain.
Another police department program reaches out to our teenagers.
YPI, or the Youth Police Initiative, helps high school kids steer clear of bad decisions that could haunt them the rest of their life.
“I learned so much, and so much what police officers have to go through every single day and what they do to help our community,” said Samantha Abramoski, a senior at Ferris High School.
“I thought they weren’t the nicest people, but during the class, I learned they were really just doing their job and doing what they needed to do to keep everyone else safe,” added Shadle High student Zavien Mica.
“I had a problem with my uncle getting arrested a lot so, I really didn’t trust cops but now I know they just don’t arrest people for stupid things, but they are there to actually help,” explained North Central’s Laila Walrath.
And that’s why it’s so important that YPI and PAL continue to connect our kids with the people charged with protecting our community.
“Last year, before COVID, it was nothing to see 15 to 18 coppers there participating in athletics with the kids. I think we get, I think officers have as much or more fun than the kids. And hanging out with those kids that don’t always get to see the other side of what a police officer does,” emphasized Spokane Police Lieutenant Rich Meyer.
PAL and YPI are funded in part by contributions made to the Spokane Police Foundation.