ERIE, Pa. — Last fall, Erie’s Police Athletic League returned after 40 years in hopes of mentoring inner-city youth and giving them a different view of what law enforcement is all about.
So far, the program is showing promise with students at Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary School.
Officers with the Erie police department and the Erie County Sheriff’s office visit with students in the G.E.A.R. program at the city school, 235 E. 11 St., every week.
The revived police athletic league was approved through the national group and kicked off at the beginning of the school year.
Sheriff’s deputies, Erie police and state troopers spend time with the kids, doing everything from sports and games to tutoring as they hope to build mutual respect between the community and officers.
“The officers have gotten very creative running the kids through different obstacle courses or playing basketball, whatever they want to do really investing on a one on one personal time to project police work in a positive manner to these children,” Erie Police Chief Don Dacus said.
There are currently more than 400 Police Athletic League chapters that serve millions of at-risk youth across the country.