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Officials meet to launch first PAL

PAL Board Member Ben Morris, chairman of the Beaufort County Community College’s Business and Industrial Technology Division, signs a copy of PAL’s bylaws. Thursday was the first meeting of the PAL Board of Directors. (WDN Photo/ Mona Moore)

The Beaufort County Police Activities League held its first board of directors meeting Thursday afternoon.
The league was formed to build relationships between at-risk youth and local law enforcement and provide a neutral ground to interact by offering sports programs, classes and workshops.
In its first meeting, the organization elected 15 board members, appointed committee members and elected officers. The organization also made plans to file for IRS nonprofit standing; develop a website, Facebook and Twitter page; and make presentations to the Beafort County Economic Development Committee and Chamber of Commerce.
Retired FBI counter-terrorism agent Al Powell was elected president of PAL.
“I think it was phenomenal to have this much talent here. It was almost like we were starting a research tank with all of the PhD’s and police chiefs here today,” Powell said after the meeting. “The kids are very fortunate to be able to have these individuals devote their time.”
The county’s four chiefs of police serve as board members. Washington Police and Fire Services Director Stacy Drakeford said it was important to him to have his department involved.
“I just think that it is imperative for Washington Police and Fire Services to be involved with molding young kids’ lives,” Drakeford said after the meeting.
Belhaven Police Chief Fred Clingenpeel helped to organize a recent PAL kayaking trip. Considering it was the first event of its kind, he was pleased to have four participants and hoped for more in the future.
“It was a nice day for kayaking, the kids were well-behaved. Now, I have four ambassadors for the program,” Clingenpeel said.
Clingenpeel said he got into law enforcement to help the community, not to arrest people.
“This just reminds you why you got into this business,” he said.
The board will meet twice a year, the second Thursday of December and June at 1 p.m. at Frank’s Pizza, 815 John Small Avenue in Washington.