Birmingham, Alabama officers were called to stop some local kids from playing soccer last Friday – but not only did they ignore the request, they joined in on the fun.
“We’ve been getting calls for several months of children playing there. A few other officers recognize there’s an opportunity to do community policing. We took an opportunity to get to know the kids and play soccer in between calls. We got our butts kicked!” Officer Jordan Burke, told InsideEdition.com.
Officer Jordan Burke is pictured with some friends. (Courtesy Jordan Burke)
He posted a video on Facebook showing the officers playing with the children. He included a caption, saying, "Please stop calling the police telling us to tell children to stop playing outside. This will be the result every time."
The video has been viewed nearly 7,000 times.
“It’s a very large parking lot of a tractor business. They close at pretty early hours, from about 4 or 5 p.m. on. They adopted this as their playground,” he said.
“I’m not entirely sure why anyone would call. A lot of times, it’s anonymous, and we do our best to focus on the positivity,” he said. “It’s a great experience for them. We’ve been trying to go back.”
Officer Burke refused to break up the game, saying workers at the tractor company don’t mind their lot being used as a makeshift soccer field.
Officer Burke is seeking donations for the kids. “Anyone who has equipment to donate….This isn’t about me, this is about the kids.
“Soccer nets would be huge. They’re playing with cones, and I’d like to lower the risk of them running into the street. There’s a highway nearby. Soccer nets, balls, Wiffle ball bats…”
The area where the children play is poverty-stricken, he said, and the kids, who range in age from 6 to about 10, have little when it comes to a public space where they can play. “In that specific area, the poverty level is pretty high,” he said.
“They don’t have much as far as playgrounds. There are a lot of concrete duplexes, burnt out, many don’t have front yards. They don’t have a lot to play on,” he said.
Officer Burke said he and other officers are trying to build a positive relationship with the children. “We first talked to these kids last Wednesday or Thursday. Friday is when the friendship blossomed. When we rolled up they were kind of shocked. They didn’t know what’s going on,” he said.
But as soon as the officers said they wanted to join in on the game, the kids really got into the game.
So many kids are raised to think that police are punishment, and not your friend. Kids are too young to know better, so they grow up with that fear. It’s heartbreaking. When they really do need help, we want the kids to run to us, not from us,” he said.