Officers from the Victoria Police Department were working in the field Saturday— a soccer field anyways. They were participating in a friendly soccer game with youth as a part of their “Multicultural youth and Police Sports Day.”
The day offered a variety of games in Bullen Park near the Esquimalt Rec Centre, as well as lunch, t-shirts and an opportunity to meet police officers in a more relaxed setting.
|Kids play soccer with officers from the Victoria Police Department. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS|
“I think all police agencies have to be doing their best to engage with youth, they’re the future of our communities, and make sure they understand the role of the police and that we’re actually there to help them,” said Chief Constable Del Manak. “This could be a new experience for many people, but it really is an engagement opportunity outside of traditional meetings to really build some bonds and friendships.”
Young kids to teenagers were welcome to play in the scoreless game to show off their skills.
“It’s fun playing soccer with the police,” said 12-year-old Leo Walling. “It’s good for the police to do something different.”
Other kids saw the officers as posing a bit of a challenge, but were still having a blast.
“It’s actually kind of hard because they’re police officers and they’re, well, not old… they’re tough!” said Kierra Lebreton.
“I love when they do stuff like this for the community!” said Jaydyn Jenvey
Eunice Martel and her two children, ages seven and nine, were at swim lessons when they saw the posters about the event and decided to check it out.
“It’s a great way to keep them active—the cops—” Martel joked. “But I think it’s great that [the kids] have some positive interactions with the cops, and playing outside is a good way to do that.”