CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - In Chicago, basketball is being used to build a bridge.
FOX 32’s Melody Mendez shows us how playing basketball is breaking down barriers between students in a rough neighborhood and the officers who patrol it.
Brina Taylor is in 8th grade, smart as a whip, and acutely aware of the city around her.
FOX 32 asked Taylor to be brutally honest about what's really said among her peers about Chicago police.
“It's like if you see a police car coming or something, like go to the other side or go the other direction, or watch out there goes police,” Taylor said. “It’s a sense of fear around the police.”
It’s not surprising given all the negative attention that's been on CPD. Even the teachers at Chicago Westside Christian School feel the tension.
“We’ve seen a growing distrust between the community and the lack of relationship that we see between the police officers and the neighborhood itself,” said Karen Trout.
So, Trout had an idea, which was get the kids and the cops to hit the hardwood together to build a bridge.
“We want the kids to feel these police officers are people that genuinely care about the community,” Trout said.
Bernard Cosey, 13, is 5-foot-8 and he's not just tall for his age. He’s wise beyond his years.
“I hear a lot of bad things about cops but when I hear them talking, I know it's not specifically towards my mother,” Cosey said.
Cosey’s mom is a Chicago police officer and he helps his classmates understand an important lesson.
“Some of them know that my mom's a police officer, but they know the nice side of my mom and they know that all police officers don't act the same,” Cosey said.
“All police aren't bad just because you've had one bad experience with them it doesn't mean,” Taylor said.
Officer Jamil Brown works for the Chicago Police Department.
“You want to have CPD show the community that, you know what, we care,” he said.