Binghamton Police Build Relationships With YouthPosted: Updated:
It's spring break for Binghamton School District students. On Friday, some students spent their time off hanging out with police officers. Those officers traded in their badges for bowling shoes.
Binghamton Community and Schools Together, or BCAST, hosted a bowling tournament. Officers came out for some friendly competition against some of the City's youth and their families.
The BCAST program was created by Lourdes Youth Services in efforts to improve the relationship between police and the young people in the community.
One officer, who spends a lot of time volunteering with the students, says that he doesn't just talk about policing and safety with the students. He also plays games after school, gives students advice about keeping their social media pages clean, and is helping some of the high school students put together resumes.
"We have a good relationship with the kids at BCAST and it shows them that we are normal people... just finding common ground and they can know that they can approach us and talk to us about other things than just policing," said Dan Barta, Binghamton Police Department patrol.
And students say they appreciate that companionship.
"I think it's important for the police officers to come close to children and families so that people will realize that they are just people too and that they can have fun just like the rest of us," said James Varga, Tioga Learning Center 10th grader.
The program is funded through a three-year grant by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Justice.