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Michigan State Police test basketball skills against children at Sarvis Park in Flint

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 7:08 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Michigan State Police offered a pleasant surprise for dozens of kids at Sarvis Park in Flint.

Over a dozen troopers donated basketballs and jump ropes -- and even putting their hoop skills to the test against some up and coming basketball stars in the neighborhood. Those who live nearby say the simple act of kindness couldn’t have come at a better time.

“It’s awesome, because it allowed us to bridge the gap, because we’ve been having a lot of police tension nationwide, and it’s good to see them come out and not only police the community, but be a part of the community,” said Ladel Lewis of the Sarvis Park Neighborhood Association.

He helped organize the effort with Michigan State Police.

“If we’re in a community policing there, that’s part of our community. We’re part of that community. It’s very important that we engage,” said Michigan State Police Lt. Jeff Short. “We’re not just crime fighters. We’re human beings.”

Michigan State Police donated dozens of basketballs, jump ropes and Gatorade for the kids. They brought their competitive edge, but the event wasn’t about who was better than who.

“It was one of the greatest feelings for me, because this is something we’ve been trying to accomplish for a long time, and bringing their police presence into our neighborhood and letting the kids meet them, know them and understand that they’re here to help,” said neighbor Aaron Turner.

Lewis hopes the event also helped police feel welcome in the neighborhood.

“We want the police to know that we need you,” he said. “This is our community, and in order for us to have a community, we need all elements to work properly.”

That means police and residents want to work together through compassion, understanding, mutual respect and a little fun.

”I’m proud of everyone in that community that showed up and welcomed us, and I think you can see what the response was on our end,” Short said. “We were very happy to be there.”

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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