Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.622.5868
Friday, May 7, 2021 at 3:40 p.m.
Spokane police have partnered with former professional boxer Rick Welliver to help at risk teens stay out of trouble, including their involvement in impromptu fights after school.
Every Tuesday, Welliver opens the doors to his gym at First and Jefferson to a plain clothes blend of kids and cops.
“We wanted to provide these kids the opportunity to embrace their masculinity. To hone it and use it for the positive, and what better way to do that, than boxing,” said Officer Graig Butler of the Spokane Police Department.
The Spokane Police Foundation is picking up the tab for the boxing lessons and equipment.
The non-profit’s members are hoping for a return on their investment through better police relationships with our community.
“And this is an opportunity for kids, from more disadvantaged backgrounds, to have personal connections with police officers. And then, they sweat together and there is sweat equity built in that relationship. And I think that’s what makes this all worth it,” added Butler who works for the department’s Community Outreach Office.
“These officers I’m working with, they’re coaches now, they’re boxers now.They look at these guys as not being law enforcement.They look at them as being their friend and their ally and their collaborator,” explained Rick Welliver of Spokane Boxing.
Tony Noble is a student in Coach Welliver’s Police Activities League (PAL) boxing program. The Lewis & Clark sophmore says he’s determined to steer clear of crime.
“A lot of people out here, they’re switching to stuff like a gun and I’m not trying to do all that. I’d rather just like to be a man, like they used to do in the olden days, be a man and put my hands up and win the right way. You know what I’m saying? I don’t have to use a gun or none of that,” pledged Noble.
“Coach Welliver is after these kids to do it the right way, because doing it the right way in the boxing ring is going to translate to doing it the right way in life,” explained Officer Butler.
That commitment to discipine and good sportsmanship is another goal of the Police Activities League.
The program strives to give kids the guidance they need to help them become productive members of our community.
“Consistency. Kids need people to show up for them consistently. Every kid needs a champion. Every officer who comes here, to give their time,they’re a champion to me,” declared Welliver.
If you think your son or daughter could benefit from the PAL Boxing Program, call the Spokane Police Department Community Outreach Office at 509.622.5816.