Holyoke Police Volunteer to Lessen CrimePosted: Mar 07, 2012 9:28 PM EST Updated: Mar 07, 2012 11:16 PM EST
HOLYOKE, MA (WSHM) -
It may have looked like all fun and games at the Holyoke Boys and Girls Club, but police say it's so much more.
Kids and police together were jumping, laughing and playing all in an effort to bridge the gap between police and citizens to lessen crime.
"By having this personal interaction, it definitely takes away the uniform," Lt. Matthew Moriarty with the Holyoke Police Department told CBS 3.
Some of the biggest hurdles those with a badge face is the mistrust and misinformation among the community. As these officers sit down and spend one-on-one time with those they have vowed to serve and protect, they're hoping to end the stigma and work together with the future of the city.
"We've started our community policing effort, led by Lt. Febo, they're doing a great job, and if these little events can help out, we're more than happy," said Moriarty.
For kids like 13-year-old Nathaniel Rivera, nights like these give an entirely new perspective on the city's police officers.
"It's nice to play with my friends and also police officers that have experience outside, and they're real people," Rivera told CBS 3.
Police tell CBS 3 that the closer they can get with members of the community, the more likely they are to make an impact on crime and violence.
"The information we get from our citizens helps us and the entire city," said Moriarty.
And with each relationship they make at events like this they feel they can continue to impact the lives of those in the city they protect.
"The kids are smiling, they're laughing and it's not us versus them, we're all on the same team," said Lt. Moriarty. "So we're working together in a game that can easily lead to a lifetime of working together."