Spring Valley police bond with young community members during Youth and Police Initiative program
Spring Valley police are taking a unique approach to fighting crime - by bonding with the community they protect and serve, starting at a young age.
About 50 Spring Valley kids are spending the weekend at Harriman State Park alongside Spring Valley's finest.
Spring Valley police have run a Youth and Police Initiative program since 2008. It takes kids on trips with officers, turning police into peers and keeping kids on the right track.
Jackson Marescot enrolled when he was 13. Hes now 20 and still going. Without it, he says he would have traded fishing for handcuffs.
"I realize I got to stay off the streets more and that's when I started focusing on sports more also," he says.
The best part of the program is it's free for the kids. The officers donate their time and then the funding for the trip comes from the village, plus the DA's office and a bunch of community sponsors.
Over 300 kids have participated, going everywhere from NBA games to Disney.
"If you saved at least one kid from hitting the streets or even dying then you've done your job, says Detective Sgt. Rony Charles.
Spring Valley families interested in enrolling their child should contact the Spring Valley Police Department. Anyone interested in sponsoring should do the same.