NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) -- There was some friendly competition Friday between local law enforcement officers and members of the community.
Rev. Dr. Willard Maxwell Jr. of New Beech Grove Baptist Church came up with the InTouch Community Basketball tournament a year ago, with one goal in mind, unity.
Friday, police officers, sheriff's deputies and first responders played against teams from local churches in the championship games at the Denbigh Community Center.
Dr. Maxwell believes the event will build better relationships, and break down barriers between young people and police.
“You never call the police or sheriff's when it's good news,” Dr. Maxwell said. “What we want to do is create opportunities for them to interact with each other without having a hostile situation.”
The event included exhibits from the different law enforcement agencies, a resume writing workshop and school supply giveaway.
Dr. Maxwell has partnered with the Newport News Police Foundation, Ferguson, Patrick Henry Mall, Newport News Parks and Rec, Newport News Youth Gang and Violence Prevention, New Beech Grove Baptist Church Community Development Center, Coalition of Concerned Clergy, The Virginia Unity Project, and a host of elected officials, community leaders, and business owners.
The basketball tournament is only possible through a grant from Ferguson Enterprises. All donations are tax deductible.