Two Washington police officers were caught on camera playing basketball with children in Tacoma after responding to a call in the area.
The photo shows uniformed cops playing ball with two young males in a neighborhood south of the Tacoma Dome, according to Q13 Fox.
It was posted to Facebook by Tacoma resident Tara Scheidt last week and it has since gone viral.
Scheidt wrote: "Yep, this just happened on my street tonight! There was a domestic violence call in the area and afterward these officers played a little basketball with the kids in the neighborhood. This is why I love Tacoma and this is why we are worlds apart from other police departments. Tacoma Police get the concept of community policing. It actually happens in neighborhoods like yours and mine."
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She tagged Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland in the photo, along with city council members and others.
Scheidt told the TV station that it was great to see cops play basketball with some local kids, who were worried about an earlier disturbance in the neighborhood.
“They broke down that wall,” she said. “All the kids were asking if they would come back and ride bikes.”
Playing ball with children is one of the many ways officers interact with the community, said Tacoma Police representative Loretta Cool.
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Cool said conflict between police and citizens seems to have escalated nationally after high-profile incidents, but Tacoma residents often stop Cool on the street to thank the TPD for their hard work.
“Nationally we are very aware of some of the sentiment toward officers,” she said. “But in Tacoma, we’ve had overwhelming support that we’re doing the right thing.”
According to Reason.com, a 2004 study done by David Weisburd of the University of Maryland and John E. Eck of the University of Cincinnati revealed that while community policing efforts don’t seem to affect crime rates directly, "when the police are able to gain wider legitimacy among citizens and offenders, the likelihood of offending will be reduced."
Photo Credit: Tara Scheidt/Facebook, Screenshot