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Teens, IMPD officers work to bridge gaps at annual Hoops For Peace basketball tournament

Posted at 10:08 PM, Oct 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-27 06:26:44-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Officers and teens spent time to play basketball together Saturday with the goal of building trust.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Samone Willis organized the 3 vs. 3 basketball tournament after their sergeant asked them come up with an idea to bridge the cap between the community and the department.

More than 150 players and their families attended the second annual Hoops For Peace event. Willis says this is a sign progress is being made.

"With our youth, there is a lot of room to grow with them," Willis said. "We are able to show them and guide them in different ways and aspects and able to get their support and belief that their police department is here to help them."

Darnell Hillman, a former Indiana Pacers player, attended the event to give teens advice on their future and dealing with police.

"This certainly is a great way to get the youth of the community to get involved with the police and tell them that the police are not bad, they are not your enemy," Hillman said. "They are here to help you, but you have to be willing to open it up and share things with them and they will share with you."

For players like Charles Craig, they are taking away the message of respecting each other to come together and stopping the violence.