Selma PAL program starts Monday morning

Published 3:48 pm Saturday, May 30, 2015

By Derek Thompson

The Selma Times-Journal


The Selma Police Department will host a summer basketball league as a part of its enrichment program Monday so officers can help establish solid lines of communication with the community and keep children out of trouble.

“We are trying to bridge that gap and break the barrier because when the kids see a police officer they are kind of afraid of them,” said detective Dorothy Cowan. “All along we’ve been trying to give them something else to do. They’ll be out of school and nobody wants to do homework in the summer, so we thought if we did basketball the kids would be a little more interested in doing that.”

The program will be for students in grades first through seventh at the Selma PAL Center, 145 College Drive.

It will be Monday – Thursday at 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. and end August 6.

The basketball league will start after the children finish the educational program in the morning each day.

“In the afternoon it will be strictly sports,” Cowan said. “The kids involved in the sports program have to be enrolled in the summer enrichment program. We’ll be getting two for one.”

At the end of the eight-week program there will be a tournament to decide on a winning team for the league.

Cowan said the police officers will gain some understanding of the youth from coaching the children.

“It gives the officers a different perspective on how to deal with the kids,” Cowan said. “We are trying to get them to see we are just regular people out here just trying to help them.”

While the police will work on building community relations, Cowan said the main goal of the program is to get the youth off the streets in the summertime.

“If they are not on the street and in here playing basketball with us they’re not going to be out there trying to steal something or anything else,” Cowan said. “They will be in here doing something constructive.”

For more information, call 874-5596.