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National PAL

National Association of Police Athletic/Activities Leagues, Inc.

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Sep, 2019

The University of Chicago PAL presented Innovative Approach to Community Policing Award

The University of Chicago Police Athletic League was recently presented the Award for Innovations in Community Oriented Policing by the International Association of College Law Enforcement Agencies (IACLEA) at their National Conference in Vancouver, Canada. The IACLEA awards Chapters with this illustrious recognition to Chapters who conduct effective evidence-based programming that presents new and innovative ideas for the promotion of Community Oriented Policing philosophy.

(Pictured above):IACLEA members and awardees 

As the second Police Athletic League in Chicago and the first University of Chicago Police Athletic League, UCPAL is making progressive strides of youth development. Needless to say, the Chapter has made great progress with their mentees since recently opening their doors to Chicago youth.  

By partnering with Carter G. Woodson Middle School, mentees found a safe haven to work on character development, academics and build long-lasting friendships with one another. Four times a week, youth gather after-school and compete in basketball leagues to learn the greater life lessons within the sport such as determination, teamwork, respect, and accountability.

Academics and life enrichment sessions are the top priorities cultivated through athletics and mentoring sessions. Throughout the 40 lessons hosted within the year, UCPAL Mentors refer to National PAL Curriculum as well as Reginald Bean’s Unfinished Business as a means to teach their youth the key takeaways. The literature reveals the power of bridging the relationship gap with young men through honest and transparent communication. Mentors will often hold open safe-space discussions with their youth to gain a better perspective of their aspirations, goals and societal concerns. 

Additionally, in the effort to enact generational social change, UCPAL utilizes college interns that aspire to work in law and/or criminal justice to gain a clearer perspective of preventing juvenile crime. Interns have an active role in teaching the curriculum and serving in the program. 

Mentors often hold honest, safe-space discussions with their youth to have open and honest conversations to gain a better perspective of their aspirations, goals and societal concerns. During these exercises’ mentees journal the takeaways to cathartically process their thoughts.   

Six-year UCPD veteran and mentor, Tawrence Walton, shares 21 mentees with three fellow mentors within their year-long program.


“We want to help them become successful students and citizens in their community while helping to blow off steam and developing their skills in their recreational desires” states Officer Tawrence Walton. 


Not only does UCPAL aim to create well-rounded citizens, but they also educate the youth about laws and government structure. Within their “Noble: Law and your Community” curriculum, officers educate youth on how to remain a law-abiding citizen, how to void mischievous behaviors and troubling social circles where they receive attention from police officers in a negative light. Even more so, mentors work directly with their youth to view them less as daunting authoritative figures but rather as coaches, mentors, and allies. 


More than Police Officers, we are Peace Officers. We are not here to cause harm to anyone but rather to protect the community” says Officer Tawrence Walton.   



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