Police Activities League wraps up spring fun, looks forward to summer

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Rapid City’s police officers often spend their days patrolling the town, but sometimes. they can be found spending a few hours of their own time on the courts and fields of local schools.

The Rapid City Police Activities League, or PAL, has continued to expand over the past few years.

“In 2018 it started, and we felt like kids needed something to do during summer nights. So we started the basketball program,” explains RCPD PAL Vice President Sgt. Matthew James.

PALThey’ve added lots of other activities to the original basketball program.

“You get those one on one connections with the kids,” Sgt. James adds. “You show them that there are people out there not just within their family, but in the community that want to put time into them and care about them.”

Officers noticed that offering activities after school created positive changes during the day.

“I work as the School Resource Officer as well, and a lot of our issues that we do have at the schools will either happen before, or during the kind of passing periods, or end of school,” says RCPD PAL President Nick Strampe. “So if we’re giving those positive outlets, it’s just another way of making sure to give something for kids to do so, they’re not going out and kind of maybe being bored and finding something that’s less positive.”

During flag football, the RCPD partnered with the South Dakota School of Mines football team, which included some extra ‘pals’ in the PAL.

“Really, Kyante was the one who kind of started this whole thing for our school, getting into this with the police department…and, you know, he talked to me about a little bit and I talked with our coaches and it’s really something that’s been interesting to me and I was pretty excited about starting to come out here,” explains Jayden Johannsen, quarterback with SD Mines Football. “It’s been a blast.”

Mines students said they enjoy becoming the leaders they wish they had, and being able to play like kids again.

“You come out here and, you know, you get down to the roots of the game where… it’s not X’s and O’s, it’s just about having fun,” says SD Mines defensive end and linebacker Kyante Christian. “You know, I think that’s something that we miss out on a lot. And…just getting back to our roots and having fun, playing with the kids.”

RCPD Police Activities League“You don’t have to worry about, you know, being a college student,” Johannsen adds. “You get a lot of classes and tests and stuff to worry about as well as playing football. But, you know, here, you just kind of get to let that go and just hang out with kids.”

The fun doesn’t stop at flag football- next up is mountain biking.

“We’ll be riding simple trails along M HILL and the bike paths and, and have some fun things for the kids to do,” says Sgt. James.

You can find more information on upcoming events and future PAL events at the PALRapid City Facebook page.

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