If young people spent more time with police outside the station, they would learn to respect officers and likely end up spending less time inside the station – that’s to say, on the wrong side of the bars.
That’s the thinking behind the Stratford Police Activities League (PAL), which the department is working to revive with a new boxing program set to launch in the coming weeks.
“We have to make things educational and we have to make it fun,” Stratford police Chief Patrick Ridenhour said at a ribbon-cutting this week. “Kids will come back if it’s fun.”
The boxing program will be at the Martin W. Chisholm Academy of Self Defense, the scene of the ribbon-cutting Monday, located across the street from the gazebo at Paradise Green. It is free and open to all kids ages 12-21.
“Our goals are to develop a constructive and productive way of life, to develop some strong life skills,” said Chisholm, who will serve as the program’s coordinator. Chisholm will work alongside Officer Larry Castelot, a state law enforcement instructor certified in USA boxing.
Since opening the academy in 2011, Chisholm said he’s taught boxing and martial arts to more than 50 kids, some as young as four. The sensei is also a state law enforcement instructor assigned to the Stratford Police Department’s swat team. Add to that, he’s the director of a women’s self-defense program at Stratford High School.
“If more people were like you and energetic, we’d get a lot done in Stratford,” said Mayor John A. Harkins.
For more information on PAL, the boxing program or to make a donation, contact Stratford police Lt. Melissa Niemiec via phone at 203.385.4146 or email at email@example.com.