MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A viewer sent a video to WMBF News of kids playing ball with police officers from the Booker T Washington area. After a visit to the local Mary C. Canty Recreation Center, located in the area, it was obvious police weren't only shooting hoops with community kids.
"It's a win, win situation." That's how Mary C. Canty Recreation Center supervisor Docsheen Moore described the new bonds of police and the kids at the rec. "Those guys (police) are real positive when we've asked them for assistance here. They come over, they help us with our Halloween program, where they dress like goblins and goons…they assist with basketball."
"Myrtle Beach Police are making relationships and positive impressions on the kids, leaving them with a different perspective than what they see and hear on the news," Moore said.
Myrtle Beach Police spokesperson Joey Crosby said the police have always been present in the communities, but social media has spiked the realization of it. Officers aren't only volunteering at community centers, but also hosting art projects, reading to students in schools and hosting informative neighborhood workshops.
Booker T Washington community member Diane Davis said she and staff members of the rec center have been meeting with police for about four to five months now in neighborhood workshops. The meetings focus on community relations. She said it's a step in the right direction, but bringing everyone together takes time.
Building the rec center to what it is today has also taken time. Moore and some of his co-workers grew up going to the Mary C. Canty Recreation Center. Between after-school activities, football, basketball and serving the kids as mentors, the men and women of the center want positive impacts to be what the kids remember the center for- like it was for them. Moore said keeping the kids involved until they're teenagers is the hardest part.
Moore said guidance, teaching the kids discipline and ensuring their support system will hopefully lead them in the right direction as adults. The center decided to make teenagers sports coaches to the younger kids over the summers.
As a treat for the community and local police, Mary C. Canty Recreation Center will host the first annual All-Star Basketball Game. The game will be police vs. the teens and kids of the rec. The entire community is invited, with the hopes to make it a big event. Local DJs will also provide music at the future event. A specific date for the game hasn't been set, but it will take place this summer.