KANSAS CITY, Mo — Early last Saturday morning, dozens of police officers from the Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas police departments responded to the Urban Youth Academy, but it wasn't a normal police call.
"It's amazing; This is the 5th year," I am King founder Chris Evans said. "We started out just wanting the kids to get to know officers and officers to get to know kids."
Evans has been teaming up with the police departments and the Kansas City Royals for the annual Badges and Baseball clinic. It's an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between local police and kids in the community.
"It builds that camaraderie and gains that trust and to be able to do it on the baseball field makes it really special," Royals General Manager Dayton Moore said of the program.
It's that lack of trust between the two that has both sides wanting address the topic in these exercises and role playing. Each side can gain a better understanding of one another.
Jackson Edington says sometimes officers get a bad wrap.
"Because they see all the bad publicity and people talking about police officers, how they're shooting and arresting people," Edington said.
That's not what the officers want the kids to walk away thinking.
"Law enforcement is here to help," Officer Laila Lawson said. "I saw in our scenarios they feel like you can just pull your gun out at any time. I'm not sure if it's the climate we are in has demonstrated that, but I want them to know that is not the training we receive. That is not a go-to. We are here to serve and protect."
Parents walk away knowing their kids have walked away with a sense of responsibility to be future leaders.
"Better husbands, better fathers, better community citizens," parent Rodney Smith said.
Both side walked away winners.