Student athletes take to the basketball court with Reading police

READING, Pa. - Police spend a lot of their days in court, but Friday night's court proceedings were very different.

Reading police and students from several schools took the court at the Geigle Complex at Reading High for the first ever Kids That Ball versus Reading Police Department charity basketball game.

"It was fun, passing the ball to my team, stealing the ball from other cops," student athlete Laila Jones said.  

"It's really about the kids, and we have some friendly competition going on," Reading Police Department Deputy Chief Osborne Robinson said.  

14 student teams and 80 total players, from third to ninth grade, went up against a little more than a dozen police officers.

"Some of them are very, very good, shot a three point jump, drive to the rim, it's been pretty good," Robinson said. 

"Hard cause they're a lot taller than us," another athlete, Julia Wagner, said.  

Many of these student players will be shooting hoops across the country this summer. All the money raised from this game will go toward paying for their nationals registration and travel expenses.

"All of these kids are from the Reading area, and we're trying to give them something positive to do," game organizer Wynton Butler said.  

While the officers do hope to score some points, they say, the most important part of this game is getting the kids to see them in a different light.

"They're used to seeing us in uniforms, sometimes arresting family members," Robinson said, "…so this is a way to bridge the gap and let them know we are approachable, we are here for them." 

"Maybe when I see them on the streets, I'll say hi," student athlete Laila Jones said. 

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