MADISON (WKOW)-- Police are always looking to improve relations with the community, through basketball.
“When people first see us out here, they're confused,” said Caleb Johnson, a neighborhood officer in the Hammersely-Park Ridge Neighborhood.
The officers block off the 3600 block of Betty’s Lane, set up hoops and draw a court with chalk. It’s a joint effort with the Mellowhood Foundation.
“The reliability goes up a lot higher when kids understand that it's not just someone that's there to be punitive, or you have to fear or you can't talk to,” said Tutankhamun Assad, who is with the foundation.
Now the kids are used to the officers playing and always ask when they're setting up the court again. And police say they notice what a difference the game makes.
“Sometimes driving through challenged neighborhoods you're met with stares, you'll wave and they just stare and I've felt that turn around, people will smile and they're excited and they realize we're here to help them,” Officer Johnson said.
Thursday the officers let the kids play in a 3-on-3 tournament, but sometimes the officers themselves hit the court.
‘I think that's probably their favorite part,” Johnson said. “When we step in and play and they're able to block our shots or shoot over us.”
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