HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg's police athletic league also known as PAL kicks off again next Monday. Kids in the Hattiesburg public school district from ages 8 to 12 years old are eligible to be a part of this eight-week camp.
For eight weeks campers play a variety of sports, including basketball, baseball, and football along with playing games, arts and crafts and swimming.
Lieutenant Allen Murray with the Hattiesburg Police Department, says this camp is a great way for kids to know the officers and utilizing sports a great way of doing so.
"The goals of the camp basically are so that kids get to know us first, how we bridge the gap to get to know them is that we utilize sports, Murray said. "We coach them with basketball, baseball, football, track, we do civics classes to teach them about government. As well as health and wellness.
"The goal of the police athletic league is to get police and local youth to get to know each other on a personal basis, Murray said. "It keeps us from being looked at as robots in uniform. "They get to know us as people first and respect us as people, then they respect the laws that we enforce as well. "
"All of the officers who normally teach in the "DARE" and "GREAT" programs working on crime prevention are the same officers to staff the league summer camp, Murray said. "All of us change our gear, Change our uniform, and just roll on and work with the kids full-time from sunup to sundown. "
There are 71 kids on the roster currently.
The camp starts on Monday and will run through the end of July.