Police become PALS to Kaua‘i’s youth

Members of the Kaua‘i Police Department are volunteering their time as pals, organizing a flag football program for youth through the Kaua‘i Police Activities League (KPAL).

About 20 men and women from the KPD are involved with KPAL, an organization that uses volunteer police personnel to organize and conduct community activities, such as the flag football program, for Kaua‘i’s youth.

The football program included about 350 kids, ages 5-10, playing on 21 teams.

The police volunteers coordinated the programs games and also served as referees. Teams were allowed to begin official practices on May 19, and games began June 7.

Mark Ozaki, one of KPALs directors, noted the success of the flag football season.

“Many of Kaua‘i’s boys and girls were given the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of learning fundamental football skills as well as life skills like sportsmanship, respect for others and self, teamwork and the rewards of hard work,” Ozaki said.

“Some of these children would never have been able to afford this experience if it wasn’t for the KPAL program.”

KPAL set up the flag football program to be affordable for any child wishing to participate.

The $10 registration fee covered equipment, a uniform and a trophy. Trophies were presented to all participants and Mayor Bryan Baptiste gave remarks at a ceremony on Saturday.

The final game of the season followed the ceremony, taking place at the soccer field between Vidinha Stadium and KPD headquarters.

Flag football was the first youth activity coordinated by KPAL.

Plans are currently being made for a boxing program for youth aged 6 to 19 years and the organization expects to add more activities for Kaua‘i’s children in the future.

Ozaki said he strongly believes that KPAL is on the right track toward the goal for juveniles and police personnel to work together for a crime-free and drug-free Kaua‘i.

“If a juvenile can come to respect a police officer at the ballpark or in the gym as a coach or mentor, the juvenile can also respect the laws and beliefs that the same officer enforces,” he remarked.

“Teamwork and cooperation between the community, local businesses, local government and the Kaua‘i Police Department contributed to the success of the program,” Ozaki also said.

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