Police Athletic League making strides with young players - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Police Athletic League making strides with young players

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Heralding in the holiday season, along with floats and marching bands was a special group of young men who are described as champions.

They are the young athletes with the Jackson Police Athletic League or PAL, and in a few short years they've made great strides.

"Our main goal is to teach these kids life skills as well as mentoring," said JPD Commander Herman Horton who points out the awards won by the departments young basketball team.

Saturday the Tigers of the Jackson Police Athletic League waved to the crowds along the route of this year's Jackson Christmas Parade.

It's a highlight for the young boys and men playing basketball and winning championships in the metro.

"Those are our two city championships that these kids have won," said Horton pointing to the teams most recent gold awards.

League trophies fill the cases at the Jackson Police Training Academy where young men hone their skills on and off the basketball court.

 "It's not just them having a way to get off the streets and come and play basketball. We mentor them and we teach them life skills such as etiquette and things like that because we want them to know that there's more to life than just someone giving you a basketball and playing sports," added the Commander of the Training Academy, a second home to the boys who spend hours here.

There are 35 players ranging from seven to 14 years old. Since the PAL program started in 2007, the league has won championships in 2009 and 2013.

"A lot of these kids who played in those initial programs started out  here and now a lot of them have gone on to college and a lot of them have gone on to graduate and played basketball while they were in college and got scholarships to go to college," said Horton.

Banners from the City Championships hang in the Training Academy's gym where the kids practice and law officers lend their time to help develop their minds, bodies and character.

"I have a vested interest in the capital city. a lot of people use the analogy they always want to go where the grass is greener. I always use the analogy myself why not make your own grass greener," said the commander, a Jackson native, husband and father.

Saturday December 19th, JPD presents the third annual "Meet the Tigers", a scrimmage game at the Police Training Academy where you can learn about the organization and enrolling your child in the league. 

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