JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An area recently plagued with crime was filled with police Saturday, as the Police Athletic League of Jacksonville kicked its annual MobilePAL community outreach program at the River Region Community Center on Justina Road.
Since the inception of MobilePAL in 2015, it has made stops in some of Jacksonville’s toughest neighborhoods and has engaged more than 990 kids.
Jacksonville MobilePAL members spent quality time with children, providing them with lunch and snacks, and playing sports and other fun activities with them.
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief Derrick Mitchell said the MobilePAL’s mission is to create positive relationships between law enforcement officers and youth in the community.
“It's always about relationship building in some of our challenge communities,” Mitchell said. “So we're out here today with the Police Athletic League showing these kids, and these families, that we are just like them.”
Mitchell means what he says. He grew up in Jacksonville and became a police officer over 20 years ago to make a difference in his community.
“(MobilePAL) shows them we care about this community, and that's why we're here,” Mitchell said. “Then, I want him to know that we’re in this with them.”
Mitchell said the best part of the program is getting to build trust with the kids.
“I don't want them to be fearful of law enforcement,” Mitchell said. “I want them to know that we are the good guys. We’re here to support them and work with them.”
There was a 70-foot water obstacle course, food and games at the community center.
MobilePAL will be at the following upcoming locations:
- Victory Pointe Apartments on June 27
- Kings Ridge Apartments on July 8
- Brentwood Lakes Apartments on July 29