SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Youth violence is a problem known too well in Central New York, especially in the city of Syracuse. Already in 2021, five Syracuse neighbors under the age of 21-years-old have been killed from violence.
On the steps of City Hall Monday afternoon, dozens gathered to announce a chapter of the National Police Athletic and Activities League in the city, an initiative to try and put an end to violence among children and teenagers.
“We’re seeing our young people play out in a very negative and horrific way,” — Chief Kenton Buckner, Syracuse Police Department
The mission of the organization is to work nationwide to promote the prevention of juvenile crime and violence by building relationships among children, law enforcement and the community through positive engagement.
The initiative in Syracuse is led by Jimmy Oliver, Syracuse Police Department’s director of community engagement.
We want to serve all kids but especially those who need us the most, those who don’t have opportunities, who are looking for programs that are going to be intentional, that are going to put you around positive adults, and that are going to be consistent.Jimmy Oliver, Director of Community Engagement, Syracuse Police Department
The first Syracuse Police Athletic and Activities League event is on July 10. It’s one of four, free summer camps being offered to children ages 6 to 13-years-old.
- Football camp: Saturday, July 10, 2021 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Nottingham High School
- Soccer camp: Saturday, July 17, 2021 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Schiller Park
- Dance and drums camp: Saturday, July 24, 2021 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Community Folk Art Center
- Basketball camp: Saturday, July 31, 2021 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Higher Onondaga Park
- Mary Nelson Center, 2849 S. Salina St, Syracuse, NY 13205: Tuesday, June 8 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Mundy Branch Library 1204 S. Geddes St, Syracuse, NY 13204: Wednesday, June 9 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Northside Learning Center Friday 501 Park St, Syracuse, NY 13203: Friday, June 11 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Oliver and each of the program’s partners know this initiative alone isn’t the solution.
There are other organizations in town that are doing some good work and if we all come together collectively to support each other, we can make the impact.Jimmy Oliver, Director of Community Engagement, Syracuse Police Department
The city of Syracuse and Syracuse Police Department are funding the program.
Anyone with questions about the Syracuse PAL program should call Jimmy Oliver at (315) 870-5288. For more information about the National Police Athletic and Activities league, click here.
Those who attended Monday’s press conference were…
- Mayor Ben Walsh, City of Syracuse
- County Executive Ryan McMahon, Onondaga County
- William Fitzpatrick, District Attorney, Onondaga County
- Chief Kenton Buckner, Syracuse Police Department
- Jeff Hood, CEO, National Police Athletics & Activities Leagues
- Sharon Owens, Deputy Mayor, City of Syracuse
- Jimmy Oliver, Director of Community Engagement, Syracuse Police Department
- Jaime Alicea, Superintendent, Syracuse City School District
- Jason Cassalia, Undersheriff, Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office
- Jerry Pace, Lieutenant, DeWitt Police Department