The League of Police Activities fights the rise in violence

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – Lexington has seen a record number of homicides to date.

The Police Activities League (PAL) tries to stop the violence. Officers work with children between the ages of seven and 17.

Sergeant Rahsaan Berry said the mission is to prevent crime through conversation.

Together with the Georgetown Street Neighborhood Association, religious leaders led a wounded community in prayer on Sunday. Speakers said drugs, addiction and gun violence have harmed parts of the city.

Sunday’s rally took place on Avenue Florence. Mar’quevion Leach, 17, was killed in the streets in May.

Sylvania Bell grew up on the streets. She said this part of town was not used to seeing so much crime.

“We could play in the backyard and have my friends play kickball,” Bell said. “It was good back then. We could leave our doors unlocked, but now, oh no. You can’t do it now.

Sgt. Berry tries to prevent more killings.

“I live right next to Florence,” he said. “I grew up here, this is my home, so we want to give back and try to be an example for all of our members of our community, all of our youth, all of our elders.”

He oversees PAL, a group dedicated to building relationships with children.

“You have to meet people where they are,” Sgt. said Berry. “This is why we are here today.

He said officers and volunteers teach swimming lessons, coach sports and mentor young people in Lexington.

“We’re going to start our new swim team, we’ve got swim lessons, we’re mentoring,” he said.

From July 6 to 9, PAL is organizing a sports camp with Calvary Baptist Church in Douglass Park. From 9 p.m. to 12 p.m. PAL will offer activities, devotion, conversations and lessons for children.

“We take our free time every day to say, hey, what can we do to help? We get out of these cars, we talk to people on their porches, we help people mow their lawns. Sgt. said Berry.

He said he had thick skin; he wants to have uncomfortable conversations so that the community can find solutions.

“We’re trying to give them coping skills, talk to them about making the right decisions, we’re just there listening to them,” said Sgt. said Berry.

PAL has registrations available online every day. All activities are free.

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