Hattiesburg Police PAL program aims to encourage children

Hattiesburg Police PAL program aims to encourage children

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A gang-related shooting injured three people in Hattiesburg Monday and landed nine suspects behind bars.

"I want to call out to the gang members of this community, they need to put the guns down," Hattiesburg's Ward 5 Councilman Nicholas Brown said.

Monday's gang violence happened in Ward 5, and Brown said he is concerned about the senseless violence.

"It's going to take more than the council and the mayor and the police department," Brown said. "It's going to take the citizens to come together. Like I said, starting at home while the kids are young. We have to get them on the correct path at an early age."

That's why the Hattiesburg Police Athletic League is aimed at preventing future teens from going down a violent path. The group meets at the Ben McNair Recreation Center to mentor children, tutor them, showcase the arts and crafts among many other positive activities.

"PAL is fun," Camron Lott said.  "It's a good program for kids to come after school to have fun and do great things."

Lott was just one of many children who completed the program.

"Our goal at the Hattiesburg Police Athletic League is to show the children that they can be somebody," Lt. Latosha Myers said. "Be a role model and show the children that their future does not have to be incarcerated. Their future can be bright and their future can be successful."

"Instead of me being out there in the streets, you know, I was able to come here and do something productive," Lott said.

"It's sad. These shootings are not safe for anyone," Brown said. "It needs to stop. We are not going to tolerate it."

If you are interested in learning more about the after school PAL program or their summer program, call the Hattiesburg Police Department.