INDIANAPOLIS — On Tuesday night, IMPD was called out to Forest Manor Park on the city's east side — but not for what you may think.
"It was super fun. I was like, I hope I remember how to play and they don't yell at me for getting out. And yes, I got out," said Sgt. Tyneka Sperry, supervisor for IMPD, after gathering with kids and fellow officers for a few fun games of kickball and quick ball.
"It's really cool that you get to play with police officers, playing kickball," 8-year-old Allen Conley said.
The annual event, called Badges for Baseball, is put on by the Indianapolis Indians, Indy PAL (Police Athletic & Activities League) and Indy RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities).
The purpose of the night is to build positive relationships between those kids and law enforcement.
"Especially right now with [the] turmoil the world is in, it's always this 'good vs. bad,' so it's nice to come together and show them that's not really how it is, that we're all the same" Sperry said. "We're all moms and dads, brothers and sisters. We put our pants on the same way every day. We cook dinners and do chores."
The kids and officers competed, with the kids also learning about the job, from the bomb squad to horse patrol, giving them the chance to explore the possibility of a future career.
"A lot of people in my family have been on the wrong side of the tracks, and I kind of wanted to do something with my life," 15-year-old Jason Mayes said. "I was thinking military or law enforcement, one of the two."
"Two little girls today said, 'I wanna do this job. I wanna ride horses!' I was like, You absolutely should do this job!'" Sperry said.
There was a lot of learning, laughing and high-fives exchanged. And most importantly, everyone left with a fresh perspective.
"I saw they were cool and being honest, and they were throwing balls, and I was actually really impressed," 8-year-old Layla Deckard said.
"If you lose or win, it doesn't matter — you just play the game to have fun," Conley said.
"The next time they see a police officer, they don't always [have to] go to the bad," Sperry said. "They're like, 'I remember a good experience,' so that's why we do this."
What other people are reading:
- IU Health says Indianapolis doctor found compliant with privacy laws despite AG Rokita's claims
- Uber driver recovering after being shot on Indy's southeast side
- Muncie police investigating 3rd homicide in a week
- Indianapolis Zoo needs help naming 2 of 3 tiger cubs
- 25-year-old Lafayette man recognized for heroic actions in saving 5 kids from burning home