A group of Fort Worth police officers took time off the streets Friday to play basketball with young children from the Highland Hills Community Center and the Boys and Girls Club, part of an effort to improve relations with the community.
"The Fort Worth police, we care about each and every one of you,” Officer Allen Speed told dozens of kids.
Speed is president of the Police Athletic League.
"We're about bridging the gap and being involved in their lives,” he said.
Friday’s event at the Game On Sports Complex was organized by a national nonprofit called "Humanize the Badge," and came to North Texas to mark July 7th, the day two years ago that five Dallas officers were killed in an ambush.
The group was founded by Elizabeth Ogden, the wife of an Amarillo officer. She now travels the country trying to improve police relations.
"I have a little boy myself,” Ogden said. “He is my inspiration. I want to leave him a better world. And I hope we can do that one kid at a time."
As the kids watched, officers played athletes from Texas Wesleyan University.
Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald was there with another surprise guest – a police officer dressed as Batman.
From a public relations standpoint, it all seemed to work.
"I just think if police are good to us, and we be good back to them,” said 12-year-old Serenity Austin. “We don't have any problems."
Speed organizes similar events all year long.
"I would rather see these kids on a basketball court than a juvenile court,” he said. “This is prevention, this is intervention.”