Police Activities League wraps up spring fun and looks forward to summer
RAPID CITY, SD — Rapid City police officers often spend their days patrolling the city, but sometimes. they can be found spending a few hours of their time on the courts and grounds of local schools.
The Rapid City Police Activities League, or PAL, has continued to grow in recent years.
“In 2018, it all started and we felt like the kids needed something to do during the summer nights, so we started the basketball program,” says RCPD PAL Vice President , Sgt. Mathieu James.
They added many other activities to the original basketball program.
“You get these one-to-one relationships with the kids,” the sergeant said. James adds. “You show them that there are people not only within their family, but in the community who want to spend time with them and care about them.”
Officers noted that offering after-school activities created positive changes throughout the day.
“I also work as a School Resource Officer, and a lot of our issues that we have in schools will either happen before, or during transition periods, or at the end of school,” says Nick Strampe, President of RCPD PAL. “So if we’re giving these positive outlets, it’s just another way of making sure we’re giving the kids something to do, they don’t go out and maybe get bored and find something less positive.
During flag football, the RCPD partnered with the South Dakota School of Mines football team, which included additional “friends” in the PAL.
“Really, Kyante is the one who kind of started all of this for our school, getting into all of this with the police department…and, you know, he talked to me a little bit about it and I talked to our coaches and it’s really something that’s been interesting for me and I was pretty excited to start coming here,” said SD Mines Football quarterback Jayden Johannsen. “It’s been a blast.”
The Mines students said they loved becoming the leaders they would like to have and be able to play like kids again.
“You come here and, you know, you get into the roots of the game where… it’s not Xs and O’s, it’s just for fun,” the SD Mines defensive end and linebacker said. Kyante Christian. “You know, I think that’s something we miss a lot. And… just going back to our roots and having fun, playing with the kids.
“You don’t have to worry about, you know, being a student,” adds Johannsen. “You have a lot of lessons, tests and things to worry about besides playing football. But, you know, here you can kind of let it go and hang out with the kids.
The fun doesn’t stop at flag football, next up is mountain biking.
“We’ll be doing simple trails along M HILL and bike paths and we’ll have fun things for the kids to do,” says Sgt. James.
You can find more information about upcoming events and future PAL events on the PALRapid City Facebook page.