Teens and kids see police in a different light after kickball game

Asheville Parks & Recreation (APR) Facility Supervisor Angel Redmond and Asheville Police Department (APD) Sgt. Craig Loveland have known each other for years and currently collaborate on the City of Asheville’s PAL program.

PAL stands for Police Athletic League, a national organization that exists to aid in prevention of juvenile crime and violence by providing mentorship, service, sports and athletics, recreational enrichment, and educational opportunities. Their hope is to utilize school resource officers to connect with young people in local elementary schools and expand into the larger community. Over the summer, the pair organized a kickball game between APR staff and teens against APD as a way to demonstrate healthy competition. 

The weather was perfect as teams took to Martin Luther King Jr. Park’s ballfield on July 28. Located in the East End/Valley Street neighborhood, the game drew many spectators beyond APR summer campers and other officers. It was a great way to introduce officers as humane individuals allowing young people to see them in plain clothes, laughing and having fun — and losing to the APR team 10-0 through heavy competition!

“Great sportsmanship was on full display by both teams,” according to Angel. “It was the perfect beginning for a positive relationship!”

For more on the PAL program, email aredmond@ashevillenc.gov. To search APR’s current adult, teen, and youth sports leagues and athletics opportunities, visit avlrec.com.