Cape Girardeau basketball game brings youth and officers togethe - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Cape Girardeau basketball game brings youth and officers together

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

At Centenary United Methodist Church in Cape Girardeau, pick-up basketball games among local teenagers are the norm.

But on Sunday, a new opponent took the court.

The church held a special exhibition basketball game between the city's youth and the Cape Girardeau police department Sunday evening.

Organizers of the event say it's an effort to build bridges between the community and its officers.

"We recognize that the relationships are not as solid as they could be," youth ministries director, Dave Wiant said. "We want to make sure we foster better relationships with law enforcement to say, 'hey you know what,we're not all doing bad,' and for officers to say 'we're not here just to look for people to catch them doing something bad.' We should be working in partnership."

Both officers and students hope this builds a level of trust between the youth and the men behind the badge.

Proving that while they can compete for the ball, they're on the same team in life.

“Every time we get the call, it's usually something bad or a negative thing,” Lt. Bradley Smith said. “Here it's a positive thing and it's just relaxed and fun.”

“A lot of stuff is happening right now, like around Baltimore and all that stuff,” high school student, Al Young said. “For cops to come out and just have fun with teenagers it's great, it's a great experience.”

Although it was a pretty close game, the teenagers took home the win, 65-51.

This is the first year the church has done this exhibition game.

Students say they hope this continues for years to come.

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