Worthy of support

Published 9:27 pm Thursday, June 21, 2012

Police chiefs would rather keep youngsters on the basketball court or tennis court than in a court of law.

To that end, police chiefs from Aurora, Belhaven, Chocowinity and Washington are supporting the formation of the Beaufort County Police Activities League. That’s why they will sign an application concerning PAL at the Beaufort County administrative offices today. That application will be submitted to the national PAL chapter headquarters for the Beaufort County PAL to become an official Police Athletic League member.

PAL will form a historic collaboration between those police departments. Personnel from those departments will work with retired law-enforcement personnel and volunteers to interact with youth in a neutral environment, conducting recreational activities, classroom and workshop sessions, field trips, guest speakers and day camps to improve the communication and public perception about law enforcement and juvenile-justice officials.

Alvin Powell, who lives in Beaufort County and is a retired FBI supervisory special agent/chief of a FBI counterterrorism unit and former FBI pilot, is PAL’s program director. He believes PAL will make a difference in the county.

Powell said a Beaufort County PAL would create a proactive mechanism to prevent potential “powder-keg” situations from developing between law enforcement and the community, especially youth. The program will establish a communication infrastructure to help resolve misunderstandings and perceptions that law-enforcement officials and the community might have about each other. Law-enforcement officials will be able to demonstrate their coaching, teaching and mentoring skills.

Sounds like a program worth supporting.