PAL program connects local youth with HPD

, Miss. - The Hattiesburg Police Athletic League, also known as HPAL or PAL, is a crime prevention summer camp that incorporates education, fun and relationship building between police officers and youth.

“It’s a way of interacting with youth in a positive manner, getting them to know police officers as people first, once they respect us as people they respect the laws we enforce,” Lt. Allen Murray said.

The program encourages early, positive interaction between young people and police to establish more positive attitudes towards law enforcement.

“One of the easiest things to do is put someone in handcuffs and put them in the back of the patrol car, even fighting them, putting them in the patrol car and getting them into the jail." Lt. Murray described the positive influence of law enforcement, expands public awareness. "The hardest part is keeping them out of the backseat. But the way to do that is to build a relationship,”

According to Hattiesburg Police Divisions, "studies have shown that if a young person respects a police officer on the ball field, gym or in a classroom, then that youth will likely come to respect the laws that police officers enforce."

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