Youths, cops to hit the court

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Clovis Police Department Community Relations Officer Daron Roach gathers trophies in his office Thursday for the Cops and Kids Basketball event Saturday. Numerous items were donated, including goodie bags, goodies, bottled water, trophies and T-shirts.

Liliana Castillo

Clovis youth will have an opportunity to interact with area law enforcement, but see them as civilians, on Saturday.

Children from 6 to 13 years old in teams of five will play 10-minute games of basketball against five area law enforcement officials in the Cops and Kids Basketball games.

Clovis Police Department Community Relations Officer Daron Roach said 40 officers from Clovis PD, Cannon Air Force Base, Curry County Sheriff’s Department, New Mexico State Police, the livestock board, the District Attorney’s office, adult probation and motor transportation department will make up the adult teams.

Roach reached the limit of 100 children in 21 days, and there are 20 children on the waiting list in the event the department holds the event next year — which Roach said looks hopeful.

Roach said he began mentioning the event at the end of April and he found a large amount of interest.

“It just grew and grew,” he said. “I didn’t figure we’d get (more than) 20, maybe 30, kids and we’d have to find 10 officers to do it.”

Roach said Thursday he continued to receive calls from parents and officers interested in participating.

Each child will receive a trophy, T-shirt, goodie bag and a professional team photo. Participation is free but enrollment is full.

Two one-month family memberships to the YMCA will be given away via a drawing.

Each officer will receive a T-shirt, goodie bag and will play two or three games each.

Play begins at noon and ends at 5 p.m., Roach said if everything goes according to plan.

Roach said the Hobbs Police Department has expressed interest in holding the same event.

Roach said the event is intended to provide youth interaction with law enforcement.

“This is an opportunity to interact with local law enforcement basically to have fun,” Roach said. “We want them to know we’re here for them. We’re not a bunch of bad guys.”

Roach said the event is also a good opportunity for agencies to work together.

“We’re all looking for same thing, to help out,” he said.

Clovis Police Department Chief Sanders said the event is an opportunity for youth to interact with law enforcement officials outside of their uniforms.

“It’s important for children to realize that we’re not just out there enforcing laws,” Sanders said. “They can see the humanistic side. Outside of our uniforms, they’ll realize we’re just regular people and this event allows them to see that in a spirited and competitive arena.”

Fast Facts

What: Cops and Kids Basketball

When: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday

Where: Clovis High School Rock Staubus Gymnasium

The event is full but come and watch