More than 30 high school basketball teams are getting an assist from police chiefs for a first of its kind league in North Texas.
The goal is for students and the police to break some barriers with the chiefs, who serve as honorary coaches.
A few games were held Tuesday night at the Duncanville Fieldhouse.
The idea is the brainchild of Coach William Pearson.
“So the kids get to see law enforcement have positive interactions, build positive relationships so that something good is in front of them,” said Pearson. “All our kids are seeing is negative, negative, negative, and if you’re not careful, you think that’s all there is. What we want to do is let them see something positive.”
“And that’s how we get into the communities firsthand,” said Chief Tracy Aaron with the Mansfield Police Department. “We’re able to have a conversation with these guys individually. Same thing that we’re telling our cops on the street. We’re telling our cops, ‘Hey, get out of the car. Go have a conversation with somebody.’ And that’s how we do it. We do it one person at a time.”
In many cases, the chiefs will be the first to say that they're more of a cheering squad then coaches.
But according to the players and even their parents, just having the chiefs there is a huge step in the right direction.
“I believe that it was a really good experience,” said mom Tori Clark. “Especially with the things we’ve been seeing going on in the news, especially with young, black males. To see police chiefs are actually out there trying to build the community and not tearing them down, and to show them, ‘You don’t have to run when you see us. We are there to help you.’”
This is the first year for this league.
State Sen. Royce West was at Tuesday night’s game, where the competition was created with his late son in mind, who was a basketball player for Duncanville years ago.
There are 36 teams that are part of the league.