Over 50 kids from various age groups gathered at the 121 Precinct in Graniteville, Staten Island for the third annual “Cops vs. Kids” chess and checkers tournament. Officers and neighborhood children could be seen engaging in friendly competition and watching as the tournament games heated up. This year’s event yielded the biggest turn out yet. NYPD Explorers, members of a youth law enforcement program, also joined in on the fun. Officer Alberto Valentin of the 121 believes these events help create stronger ties between law enforcement and the community.
“We bond with the kids in our neighborhood,” said Officer Valentin. “Any chance we get to interact with them and get them involved, we jump on.”
Every child that participated received a ribbon and those that made it to the advanced rounds were awarded medals and trophies. At the end of the day, everyone involved was a winner. Officer Valentine particularly enjoyed this event because it gave the officers an opportunity to interact with the children in an informal setting.
“Cops are your friends,” said Valentin. “We’re here to make sure everyone is safe and everything goes right.”
Due to the success of the event, “Cops vs. Kids” will be expanding to other precincts on Staten Island. The 122 Precinct event is set for April 12 and the 120 and 123 Precincts will be hosting competitions in the coming year. The event was made possible by partnerships with Island Voice, St. Phillips Baptist Church, Make Your Move Volunteers, NYPD Explorers, Crown Trophy, and Police Athletic League. The 121 Precinct also thanked Shop Rite and Nucci’s Italian Restaurant for their generous contributions.