WADESBORO, N.C. — Wadesboro police officers faced off on the basketball court with community members in an effort to build relationships.
“We’re human, too. We put our pants on just like everyone else does,” said Wadesboro Police Officer Joshua Helms.
Helms got the idea for a community basketball game with law enforcement officers and was able to organize a tournament at Harvest Ministries.
Out on the basketball court everyone is just a player.
“When you step in between those lines, we are brothers whether you’re fighting against each other or with each other,” said Jamoszio Burch, a local AAU coach.
It’s that type of camaraderie and those relationships that the police department hopes to build through basketball.
“If that’s what we can do to bring everyone together, we’ll do it,” Helms said.
Wadesboro police, local firefighters, and deputies from the Anson County Sheriff’s Office, as well deputies from neighboring counties like Union and Stanly joined in.
“It means a lot to me to see this, to see community come together especially everything that’s been going on in the past couple years. I think it’s a great thing for us,” said Bunyon Tyson, who grew up in Wadesboro and returned after graduating from college. He played in the tournament Saturday.
Last February, two teenagers playing pick-up basketball, were shot after leaving the courts at Harvest Ministries. Malik Byrd, 16, was killed. No one has been charged with his murder.
Many have stayed away from that court since then.
“Bad karma, bad energy around the area. All the shootings and violence that was going around,” Burch said.
But now, they’re hoping events like these will help law enforcement and the community work together to stop the violence.
“To remind ourselves, horrible stuff happens that we wish wouldn’t happen, it’s events like this to remind us we can change that,” Pastor Steve Adams said.
“I think this is going to help us in the long run,” Tyson said.
The police department and Harvest Ministries said they hope to have many of these events in the future.
Cox Media Group