U.S. Attorney Lapointe Speaks with Students and the Community at his Alma Mater Miami Edison Senior High School
MIAMI – Student athletes from area high schools and local law enforcement agencies recently gathered at Betty T. Ferguson Sports Complex in Miami Gardens for the Fifth Annual Fall Classic Youth & Cops Basketball Tournament.
This tournament gives youth, police officers and agents the opportunity to spend quality time with one another through competition on the court. Each team consisted of six teens and six adults. Many were area high school basketball standouts, which made for some high-energy aerial assaults on the rim.
“This is the first time I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with this tournament,” said Community Outreach Specialist Jorge Lorente, Law Enforcement Coordination and Community Outreach Section (LEC/COS) of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “It was nice to see positive interaction between the youth and law enforcement.”
Participating agencies included the North Miami Police Department; Miramar Police Department; Miami-Dade Police Department—YOUTH; Miami Gardens Police Department; U.S. Customs & Border Protection; Miami-Dade Police Department—Intracoastal; U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida; and Miami-Dade Police Department Community Affairs.
The championship game was a showdown between the Miami-Dade Police Department—Intracoastal and Miami Gardens Police Department. The Miami-Dade PD—Intracoastal took the crown by one point in a back-and-forth battle.
“I thought the games were exciting and fun to watch,” said Tournament Director and LEC/COS Chief J.D. Smith. “But the thing I enjoyed most was seeing the sportsmanship displayed by the players. There were a few times when things got pretty intense on the court but everyone was friendly again and shook hands after each game.”
This tournament—organized by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and held twice annually—is just one example of how LEC/COS staff members try to make a positive impact on the lives of area youth.
“We interact with youth of all ages in a multitude of ways, but what I like about the basketball tournament is that it shows law enforcement in a new light,” said Smith, a former police supervisor himself. “It humanizes them to the teenagers. They’re regular people with similar interests just like the teens. That’s what we want the teens to see. If we can improve relationships between youth and cops then it’s worth it.”
The Miami Beach Police Department provided refreshments and supplied the tournament referees while the Miami Gardens Parks & Recreation Department provided the venue.
Public Affairs Unit
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida