Football camp aims to bridge gap between community and law enforcement

Football camp aims to bridge gap between community and law enforcement
Football camp aims to bridge gap between law enforcement and public. (Photo Source: WLOX News)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - More than 100 high school football players packed the field at the Kroc Center for a CJ Bailey skills academy on Sunday, but the camp came with a twist.

Before the first drill started, athletes heard from a patrolman with Biloxi Police Department.

"He talked to us about him not being against us," said senior quarterback Wayne Overton.

Patrolman David Elliott was invited by the camp's organizer in light of recent tensions between law enforcement and communities.

"I talked to the guys about understanding that we the police are not against them, and we need to pull together for the community," said Elliott.

Bailey says it's an effort to try and bridge the gap between law enforcement and youth.

"It takes a community to raise a child, and I wanted them here to make them comfortable about seeing them," Bailey said.

Bailey says he's using the camp to get the kids where their interest lies, and that he hopes it will get them moving in the right direction.

"Kids are our future, they need to feel comfortable with law enforcement, and knowing they are apart of community to help them grow just like parents, teachers, coaches," said Bailey. "There's no difference in that ladder of respect."

Response from the athletes was positive.

"It was really reassuring to hear that you know the law enforcement is there for us with the incidents going around," Becht Rowell noted. "It was great to hear how he said there are only several of those bad officers, but most are here for us."

Once the talk was over, the guys were able to hit the field and refine their skills. The guys say they walked off the field knowing they had taken their game to the next level.

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