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Press Release

Competition builds rapport between police officers and local teens

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida

MIAMI – Rim rattling dunks and long-range scoring from beyond the three-point line provided the action at the recent Fourth Spring Classic Youth & Cops Basketball Tournament at the Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex in Miami Gardens.

Organized by the Law Enforcement Coordination and Community Outreach Section (LEC/COS) of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the tournament consisted of 12 teams, each one with six adults from local law enforcement agencies and six teens chosen by said agencies. Many of the teens were standout high school players with energy to burn. The large crowd oohed and aahed whenever they attacked the basket.

“There were plenty of fireworks for sure,” said LEC/COS Community Outreach Specialist Corey Mackay. “We had some very talented players—cops and teens—which made it really fun to watch.”

Participating agencies included members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida; Hialeah Police Department; Davie Police Department; Fort Lauderdale Police Department; North Miami Police Department; Miami-Dade Police Department; Miami Gardens Police Department; Miami-Dade Police Department—Intracoastal; Miami Beach Police Department; Florida Highway Patrol (FHP); Opa-Locka Police Department; and Hollywood Police Department.

The championship game was a showdown between FHP and North Miami Police Department. The fastbreak-style matchup was closely contested but FHP prevailed in the end.

“We had some great teams this time around,” said Tournament Director and LEC/COS Chief J.D. Smith. “The games were exciting to watch, and we had a nice crowd showing support. Basketball is one thing, but we began this event to help establish a rapport between our youth and our law enforcement officers. That’s what I really enjoy watching … the interaction between them.”

Smith, a retired supervisor with the Detroit Police Department, knows full well the importance of changing a culture that, too often, amplifies the misconceptions between teens and the police.  

“You must show teens the human side of police officers, and vice-versa” said Smith. “They are no different from anyone else. But too often all our youth see are authority figures. It’s crucial for them to interact in social settings where they can find commonalities. That’s what we want teens and cops to discover, that if they take time to see past their differences, they’ll see that we’re all human beings. If we can help do that, then it’s worth it.”  

Multiple agencies participating in the tournament provided refreshments. Miami Gardens Parks & Recreation Department provided the venue.



Public Affairs Unit

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Southern District of Florida

Updated April 15, 2024

Community Outreach