Some South Bend Police Officers are trading in their uniforms for boxing gloves.
It is all part of the department's boxing club.
Darryl Boykins, South Bend Police Department’s Uniform Chief of Police, stated, “This program is a boxing program, a South Bend Police boxing program. It started in about September of last year, and then it was to give the kids something different in the community that hasn't been offered in a long time.”
There are at least five to seven officers and three to four volunteers that come out to work with the kids.
Krista Garcia, a South Bend teen who boxes in the program said, “Before I only knew a couple of police officers and a lot of them I didn't like because like the attitudes and stuff like that and just things I’ve heard about police officers when I was young I didn't like. And now when I came here I know how some police officer's personalities are and it gives like a good personality about them. They show their personality. “
Officer Boykins says, “Boxing offers coordination, balance, foot work and confidence. It's not coming out here to beat each other up.”
He continued, “I hope they come out here and find out that this is something good they can tell their other friends to come out to. That's it's structured, that they don't have to be worried about getting jumped on, there's no fights out here, you don't have to worry anything about that, and an activity that at a lot of times people don't think that can happen between kids anymore of all different types of diversity.”
Officer Boykins also hopes the program will help youth interact with police officers. He said, “And also looking at police in a different atmosphere, they always see us in a car taking somebody to jail but they never see us like at their level doing something that they're doing.”
Krista added, “They boost you up. When you mess up, they don't tell you, they don't yell at you and tell you that you're doing wrong. They tell you what you're doing wrong but they help you succeed more and they help and tell you what you're doing wrong so you can do better next time.”
For more information about the boxing club, visit the link below.