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North Charleston program turning cops into coaches - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

North Charleston program turning cops into coaches

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - North Charleston resident Donta Bowens has lived in the Accabee community much of his young life.

The neighborhood president and volunteer football coach, Bowens said he experienced a "pretty rough neighborhood growing up," but one he's witnessed improve.

"I was actually born and raised in Accabee and I knew what it took for me to stay out of these streets," he said.

For Bowens, the answer was sports.  It's the same solution members of the North Charleston Police Department are now committed to bringing to neighborhoods like Accabee and eight others in historic North Charleston.

Early Tuesday, the NCPD announced the start of its Cops Athletic program, or CAP.  The league, which will start with basketball for boys ages 12-14, will be made up of nine teams from neighborhoods in Charleston Farms, Accabee, Union Heights, Liberty Hill, Russelldale, Ferndale, Dorchester Terrace/Waylyn, Chicora, and 10 Mile.

"They're seems to be a trust issue between that age group and the police department," said Captain Ken Hagge, of the NCPD.

"A lot of the 12-14 age group, my son included, doesn't know the police very well, and they need to see that we're people just like them and we are there to help them," he said.

North Charleston Police Officers will coach each team, with the help of volunteers from each community.  Officers will also provide transportation to each playing site, and have been working with the North Charleston Recreation Department to provide uniforms and restore many of North Charleston's basketball courts.

For each participant, sign-up for the league is completely free. 

"I think in the part of sports, you get to learn a lesson, a life lesson," said long-time Accabee resident and District 10 Councilman Michael Brown.

"This community is starting to attract a lot of younger folks, and with those younger folks coming in you want to give them something to work with."

For more information on league sign-ups, or how you can donate, contact Captain Ken Hagge at kenhagge@northcharleston.org.

Play is slated to begin July 14, 2014.

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