JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Basketball teams at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi will get some friendly competition from the Jackson Police Department (JPD). The department is partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs to build relationships with youth in the community.

They created a basketball league to help keep kids of the street.

“My boss asks me all the time, what is my why? My why is to help children through athletics because that’s how you reach them. Any outreach program to keep these kids off the streets, I’m willing to do, and we are willing to do here at the Boy & Girls Club,” said Jamye Horton, athletic director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi.

“It is so imperative that we develop a relationship,” said Commander Alfred Cooper, who oversees JPD’s Police Athletic League (PAL) program. “We want positive re-enforcement. Again, we have to curb the behavior, so we don’t have to arrest them later. That’s our goal.”

Recently, crime in Jackson has revolved around youth; both criminals and victims. The two organizations are working together to bring an end to juvenile crime while having fun.

The league will be for those ages eight to 17. The two squads will first faceoff in March 2022. If you would like to sign up for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi, click here.