A group of Allentown Police Officers and local youth recently participated in the first official “Cops Meet Block” basketball tournament at Cedar Beach Park. The event was organized by Reverend Daniel Blount, pastor at Union Baptist Church and a resident of Allentown, to promote a better relationship between law enforcement and youth in the city.
“We’re all here for you to talk to before you make any bad decisions,” said Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald, who donned a pair of high tops to play. “Come talk to us, talk over your situation, and we can help you make better choices.”
Spectators in the audience included Mayor Pawlowski, who provided free t-shirts to all the participants, Lehigh County Executive Tom Muller, and State Representative Mike Schlossberg, who donated 200 hot dogs and buns for the event.
“This is a great chance for you guys to get to know these police officers,” Mayor Pawlowski told the participants before the games began. “These guys are your friends, not your enemies. They’re here to help you and keep you safe. They could be doing anything today, but they took the time to be here with you, and I’d like to thank them for that.” The Mayor concluded with a remark that made everyone laugh: “Go easy on our men in blue, they have to work tomorrow.”