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July 13, 2006

CONTACT: Steve Tompkins
(617) 961-6650


Boston – The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department is continuing its community outreach efforts this summer, connecting with local youths playing in the Boston Area Church League baseball league. Usually, the Sheriff’s Department reaches out to area youths through initiatives like the Choice Program, which sends officers to schools to speak to students about making smart decisions. This summer, with school out of session, officers will be delivering that message on the baseball field.

The Boston Area Church League was launched in 2002 to re–establish relationships between the church and the community. Entering its sixth season, the mission has expanded to improve the relationships between kids and law enforcement agencies.

“We wanted to involve officers so that our kids can get to know them and recognize them outside police stations and jails,” said Boston Area Church League Director of Baseball Operations Raphael Deas. “Usually, the kids see the officers for the first time when they’ve gotten into some trouble, and there’s a perception that the officers are out to get you. Having officers involved in the league lets the kids know that they’re regular people and that they care about the kids’ welfare.”

The league, which runs from July 1 through September 23, targets 10 through 14 year-olds; when most are faced with peer pressure to become involved in dangerous or criminal activities. With 24 teams, the league is able to positively influence between 600 and 800 adolescents each summer.

Thirteen officers from the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, as well as officers from the Boston Police Department, will be at the baseball games each Saturday, acting as umpires and spending time with the players. Games are played at Franklin Park, Orchard Park, the Boston Common, Franklin Fields 1 and 2, and the American Legion Field, East Boston. The Sheriff’s Department is also participating in the Boston Area Church League fundraising luncheon at the Back Bay Hilton on July 28 and the second annual Unity in the Community Parade on July 29.

The SCSD officers include Deputy Anthony Andrews, Deputy Abe Ayuso, Officer Shane Boyer, Officer Eric Burton, Officer Jessie Cabrera, Officer Geraldo Carasquillo, Corporal Tom DeRosa, Officer Chris Kiley, Officer Willie Lugo, Officer Justin Plaza, Officer Dave Thompson, Corporal Ismael Velez, and Officer Malcolm Wynn.

“I really look forward to the games each weekend,” said Deputy Abe Ayuso, who worked with Deas to get Suffolk County officers involved in the league. “Some of these kids don’t have a lot of positive role models. By coming to the games, we can let them know they can come to us, and that we’re on their side. It feels really good to do that.”

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