CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston police are using pool parties or other community events to help cut crime in neighborhoods west of the Crosstown. Officers with the Community Action Team go beyond patrols by getting out of uniform and reaching out to young people.
"We're making sure we can engross any one of these kids into the basketball programs, the community center programs, the police department programs, anything at the schools, we will make sure they get into it. A lot of them need big brother. They need somebody to stay on them. We provide that," CAT Team Senior Officer Lewis Moore said.
Officers have been working with kids all summer, coaching them in basketball and football, and helping kids who aren't in school, get back in or earn GEDs.
Several parents say they are thankful for the police work in their community, and they say they've seen a difference in their children.
Since the officers began working with children, they've also gained the trust of their families, which has helped solve crimes.
Police say because the community knows the CAT team officers, they helped recently when several armed robbery suspects lead police on a foot chase near the Crosstown.
"They're able to come up to us and say I think I saw them running through this back yard. They are able to work with us to clean up their neighborhood Ofc. Moore said.
The children say summer was more fun this year thanks to the police.
"I've been going to football practice, exercising, and coming to the pool for fun," Larry Louven said.
"It was the best summer because we have officers taking us to the pool and having fun with us," Telicia Gregorie said.
Police have had CAT Team officers working in crime areas on the east side of Charleston for three years now. Grant money pays for the safety initiative.