California police are taking on coaching roles to keep kids on path to victory

November 13, 2016
in Kids

In the middle of Watts, a neighborhood in South Los Angeles that is still emotionally scarred from brutal anti-police riots in the 1960s, a group of kids and coaches have come together for football practice. The team steps onto the only green field seen for miles. It’s pocked with dead grass and dirt, but the players don’t seem to mind. They run, laugh and compete. The Watts Bears aren’t just preparing for their next opponent. Every snap, pass and touchdown is trying to fortify the lack of trust between the community and members of law enforcement. “To try to change that and change the community you have to get your hands dirty and working with kids who are 9 to 12 so that when they're 15, 16, 17, 18 that relationship that they have with law enforcement is completely different,” Officer James Holliman, a Watts Bears’ coach, says. The goal is to keep the kids on the field and off the streets. So the team’s four coaches, all Los Angeles Police Department officers who patrol Watts during the day, have made it their mission to mentor every player. “Rather than...

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