Basketball builds bridges between the Miami police and the black and brown communities – CBS Miami
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat and the Miami Police Department continue to collaborate on the basketball court to advance its initiative to build bridges in the community.
“I went ahead and played ball with them, I shot with them,” said officer David Mezadieu.
He’s no stranger to hoops, or the Little Haiti community where he works now, because he was once a little boy who grew up there. He also knows firsthand how valuable basketball has been in making connections with young people.
“At the time when I was growing up, we didn’t really have it and to be able to have this program is really a big deal,” Mezadieu said.
Now the Miami Heat and the Miami Police Department are teaming up to train agents to build and strengthen relationships in black and brown communities with a basketball.
“We came here and we are humanizing the badge, there is nothing to be afraid of, the cops are here only for the sole purpose of protecting you, our children and our community,” said the Miami Police Chief Manny Morales.
A key part of this is interaction.
“I know that traditionally speaking sports have brought people of all colors, races and religions together,” Alonzo Mourning Jr., vice president of Miami Heat’s player program, told CBS4.
Five hundred officers have already been trained through the Dedication to Community program, but on Thursday the Heat and Miami Police Department announced it will facilitate the training of all 900 officers in the military.
Wilson is giving 1,000 basketballs to equip each of the officers with a basketball to keep in the car. He could come in hand for a casual pickup game and potentially form a bond.
“I can relate to the things they are going through at that moment and give them advice to never give up,” Mezadieu said.