Officers took to the basketball court on Friday for some friendly competition with Waterbury high school students.
The tournament was held by a Crosby High School student-run organization, VOICES, which stands for Victory Over Injustice through Community Enrichment Services.
“From the club idea we decided to embrace the police and reach out to the community to show that we’re here for them because in reality they’re here for us. And so were trying to show a united force,” said Christian Baumbach, advisor for VOICES and a Crosby High School social studies teacher.
Waterbury’s high school teams from Crosby, Kennedy, Wilby and the Waterbury Career Academy played at the Waterbury Police Activity League Gymnasium on Friday.
A total of eight officers played, one for each team. One officer was from the Naugatuck Police Department and the rest were from the Waterbury Police Department.
“It’s just a different way to break down different barriers. A lot of times were working in a patrol car so it removes any sort of barrier and we get to see each other in our natural element,” said Officer Matt Lemos of the Waterbury Police Department.
Perris Brinkley was a Crosby student who played.
“We want to feel like the people that protect us, helps us as well on and off the court… be like a big brother to us because they are to serve and protect… so trying to make that relationship better,” said Brinkley, who is part of the student-run organization.
While there were eight different teams, the goal was to be on the same off the court.
“I like it – to interact with officers that I’ve never seen before, it’s a different experience that I’m really like happy to see,” said Crosby High School student, Nosa Egbineware.