City’s police will start youth athletic league

CAMBRIDGE — The Cambridge Police Department announced last week that there would be a new PAL in town — the Police Athletic League. The group will be oriented towards middle-school aged children, with the goal of fostering understanding among youth and law enforcement.

“It’s definitely a positive thing,” Capt. Justin Todd said. “We plan on starting as soon as possible.”

PAL is a national program, with more than 300 chapters across the United States. Funds for local activities are on the way from Annapolis. “We are very fortunate that the governor’s office on Crime Control and Prevention” has given support to the Cambridge league, Capt. Todd said.

A statement from PAL’s national office said the program exists “to aid in the preventing of juvenile crime and violence by providing mentorship, civic/service, athletic, recreational, enrichment and educational opportunities and resources to PAL Membership Chapters.”

There are different curriculums a league can follow, based on sports or other activities. Capt. Todd said the Cambridge league would like to get things started at Mace’s Lane Middle School.

The school would be joining a program begun more than 70 years ago. “It is based on the conviction that young people — if they are reached early enough — can cultivate strong positive attitudes towards/with law enforcement in their journey through life, with the goal being that of maturity, inclusiveness and good citizenship,” the statement said.

“Studies have shown that if a young person engages and interacts with law enforcement on the ball field, gym or classroom, the youth will likely come to respect the laws that police officers enforcement,” the statement continued. “Such respect is beneficial to the youth, the police officer, the neighborhood and the business community.”

“Bringing youth and law enforcement together” is the idea, Capt. Todd said. Those involved can then communicate and just get to know each other better.

“We’re human beings too,” Capt. Todd said.

Organizers are looking for volunteers to work in the PAL. To learn more about the program, call 410-228-3333 and ask for Capt. Justin Todd.

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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