RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Raleigh Police Department is teaming up with kids this summer, coaching and umpiring a youth baseball league to keep those youngsters active and build trust in the community.
It's called the Raleigh Police Mentorship Baseball League, in which officers volunteer to mentor and coach children from 10 to 15 years old two times a week. Chief Estella Patterson calls it a long-term investment.
"Once they see us as human beings just like them, just like their parents, just like their family members, then they'll connect with us, then they'll come up to us and say 'hey, this is happening in our neighborhood'. Or, they'll be a part of helping us solve crimes in their communities," Patterson said.
Patterson said it gives kids an opportunity to see that police officers in the community aren't enemies.
"Anything that brings them closer to being with our police officers, being with our police department to show them that we're not the enemy, that's it's not an us vs. them mentality but we're all one team working together to make our community safer," she said.
Khamiel Edmonds, 11, is one of the players in the league and said it's been fun just meeting new people.
"It's having like a good day, and playing with people that you don't know and making friends with people that you don't know," he said.
But he's also proof that the program may be working.
"I thought police officers were gonna like, engage at people, instead of being nice to people. But they're nice and helping people," Edmonds said.