Lafayette organization uses basketball to bring law enforcement - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Lafayette organization uses basketball to bring law enforcement and community members together

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A Lafayette nonprofit is making strides to improve relations between the police department and the community, one basket at a time.

"Let's play some basketball!" announced Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux at the start of the Youth vs. Lafayette Police Department Basketball Game at the third annual Hoop Dreams event.

Cheers and positive energy filled the Domingue Center as a group of Northside High School students took on the Lafayette police officers.

"We just put this event on to show people that not all police are bad, that some officers will come out and just have fun with the kids," said the youth spokeswoman of A New Vision Leadership of Acadiana, Deontra Trim.

The founder of the organization, which hosted the event, Erica Williams, said she hopes the community can bond over the hoops and the dreams.

"It lets our youth see that the police officers are here for them and not against them, and it also lets the police officers come in and know that we have some great youth in our community," said Williams.

With each dribble and every basket, the annual event hopes to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the Lafayette community.

"The police officers come in here; they take off their uniforms and put on that jersey, and they laugh and they joke. You know, it really is a great opportunity for people to come out and see officers as human beings and not as a person under the badge," said Williams.

"The environment is there, and I think in a time where we exist today where we, unfortunately, have shootings and this negative behavior, this is a good and beautiful thing today," said Councilman Boudreaux.

A New Vision Leadership of Acadiana uses education and activities to make at-risk teenagers the innovative leaders of the future.

And this event uses basketball as a uniting experience rather than a divided competition.

"Basketball has just been part of my life constantly. Like, it's always been a bonding sport that everyone plays. It's that one sport that everyone can just come to and be in common with people and just have fun," said Trim.

"You know, it's not the tension of business. It's not the tension of taking care of something official. It's about being able to relax and have fun. And you know, the kids might show the officers up a little bit. This is an opportunity to get at them, point to them and not have anything bad happen," laughed Boudreaux.

And there's a lot on the line of this year's game.

"The first year, the police officers won. The second year, the youth won. We're hoping the youth get another win, but the police say they're going to win," laughed Williams.

And it turns out the youth beat the police officers this year 43 to 35, breaking the tie. 

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