COLORADO SPRINGS — By building muscle and building relationships, Colorado Springs PD and Triple Threat Boxing partnered in late 2020 to create the Police Activities/Athletics League, also known as PAL.
“When police officers are here they don’t get paid, they do this out of the goodness of their hearts to really get to know our community and coach boxing and it’s been great,” said Adam Menter, CSPD community relations officer.
This partnership started as a way to bring kids in from the community and teach them life skills through boxing.
“I think the main thing is to give them a purpose. You know, a lot of these kids these days are running around aimlessly. And they’re trying to find something,” said Estevan Medina, founder of Second Chance Through Faith, an organization that tries to save children and adults from gang involvement and juvenile delinquency.
The group also said it hopes to strengthen the relationship between the community and law enforcement members.
“A lot of people think of police officers as terminators, I don’t know. You know, but they aren’t. They are normal people who leave home, leave a family, go to work, go back home to a family. So we’re trying to calm the atmosphere,” said Charles Leverette, executive director of the CSPD Activity League.
They told the police officers who volunteer, that for them the children will always come first.
“Then we let them know little by little, ‘Hey, that’s our job.’ That’s what our nine-to-five is, and they’re like, ‘Oh, really?’ And we’re like ‘Yes’ and they’re like ‘Oh, can I see your badge?’ And we’re like, ‘Yes.’ And some families say, ‘You know what, growing up I didn’t really like the police, but you know it’s good what you guys do,’ said Menter.
By improving children’s boxing skills, the officers said they were also trying to improve their character.
“I love the kids. I have an old country that says… I’d rather teach a kid when they’re young, so when I get old they knock on my door and check to see if they’ll kick my door and try to rob me,” Leverette said. .
The CSPD said they hope by regularly interacting with the children that they will not hesitate to come up to police officers and say “hello” while they are on duty.
“We want them to know us by our first name. We want to get to know them by their first name or nickname. We know many of these children by nicknames. So building real trust where it might hurt and really getting to know each other from a law enforcement capacity,” Menter said.
CSPD PAL said they hope boxing is just the beginning of the kind of sport they want to offer. Officers said they hope to one day be able to offer a wide range of activities, including dance, basketball or football.
For more information about the organization or to become a member or provide support, visit their website here.