Police officials didn’t know about it at the time, but a field training officer and a rookie made them proud on a recent afternoon.
A field training officer had taken a rookie on patrol and they were riding through a neighborhood when they saw a couple of youths playing basketball. They stopped their patrol car, got out and started talking to the kids and one thing led to another, Sgt. Joshua Bromen said.
The officers shot some hoops with the youths.
“One kid teamed up with the rookie and the other kid teamed up with the field training officer,” he said.
“The officers got a call and had to leave. But they both said their sides won.”
Before they left, Jerica Croff was driving in the neighborhood and stopped to record a video of it on her phone, Bromen said.
“It think this is pretty cool,” Croff said in the video, which she shared on her Facebook.
Police officials learned about the neighborhood pickup game when they started getting calls and realized they were being tagged on Facebook.
Croff posted her video and a picture on Oct. 11. Her post had 1,232 shares by Friday and 870 likes.
The Gulfport Police Department has a community relations program, the Blue Crew, that allows police officers to interact with teens through athletic games and impromptu pickup games as police see them in the neighborhoods they patrol.
The Blue Crew played its first game Dec. 5, when officers and Gulfport High students shot hoops in a tip-off game.
The field training officer and the rookie are not members of the Blue Crew, Bromen said.
“But it shows our officers don’t have to be part of the Blue Crew to interact in a positive way with the kids in our neighborhoods,” he said.
The Blue Crew will play flag football with Gulfport High students from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at the school at 100 Perry Street. It’s free and the public is invited.