Wilson police host football camp to build relationships with teens
Posted June 20
Wilson, N.C. — School is out for the summer in Wilson and police are giving students something to do with their free time.
Wilson police have been hosting a football camp for kids for about 10 years. Chief Thomas Hopkins said it is about more than just getting good at playing the game.
"It gives us an opportunity to work with kids in a neutral environment and not just when the kids are in trouble," said Hopkins. "It keeps them busy during the summer as well."
Hopkins said the camp helps cut the crime rate, especially in the early summer. It also helps to build relationships between officers and teens.
Zamir Allen said he did not really care for police officers before coming to the camp a few years ago.
"We started coming out here and I was like, they aren't all that bad," he said. "They're cool. They're somebody I can come out here and talk to if I need to."
Hopkins said that is proof the program is working.
"They'll get to know each other, not just as police officers, but a lot of the kids know us on a first-name basis. Those are the dividends that will pay off in the future," he said.
More than 160 students participated in this year's football camp and a nearby cheerleading camp. The Wilson Police Athletic League runs dozens of campus throughout the year.