Blue Chips program brings NYPD officers and neighborhood kids together
There was no shortage of excitement when teens from the Blue Chips program took the court at Hostos Community College Thursday night.
The players are teenagers from all over the Bronx -- the coaches are officers with the New York Police Department.
Chief Juanita Holmes says the brains behind the program is Lt. Michael Almonte.
"He spoke about this mentorship -- building relationships, creating trust, and he was doing it on his own," she said.
The program launched in June and is split between mentorship and time on the courts, partnering up police officers from every single precinct across the city - with kids in the community.
"A lot of times, when we see gangs or crews, it's neighborhood-based ... It's usually, 'This is my turf.' They don't know each other, and then they come together in a negative way, so now we're bringing them together in a positive way," she said.
She says at a time when violent crimes are dominating the headlines, Lt. Almonte's vision could be the change.
"I think this is what's going to work. It helps keep children safe, give them access to different resource," she said.