The purpose of the Police Athletic League is to keep children off the streets.
The free program was implemented in police departments across the country including Metro Police.
In the back of Steels Boxing Gym, you’ll find Coach AP.
“When they see me, they don’t call me officer Parker. It’s Coach AP,” said Arnold Parker.
Parker volunteers at the gym twice a week through the Police Athletic League.
“We have to be a part of the community. We have to be apart of the solution. We can’t just arrest our way out of problems. We need to do things like the Police Athletic League so we are able to prevent crime and help children live positive lives,” said Daniel Barry from the Police Athletic League.
There are more than 200 kids in the league. At Steels Boxing Gym, participants have been learning how to box.
“I’ve been apart of it for like 3 months now and I personally really like it. I think it’s really helping me and my brother as well,” said 12-year-old Karmen Aguilera.
Arnold Parker went to Cimmaron Memorial High School.
“You go to some of these neighborhoods, there’s no hope,” said Parker.
Parker played in the NFL and then joined the police department.
“He’s somebody that we can all feel comfortable with. As he said, it’s like family,” said Aguilera.
To Parker, the league is more than just boxing.
“I grew up we call it west side 89106. They say it’s an adverse area. To me, it’s just home. But these kids come from the same neighborhood, so they need someone to grab them and show them the opportunity,” said Parker.
It’s Parker’s way of giving back to the community that raised him.
“It’s probably the most important thing we can do for our children. Keep them busy with positive and healthy activities. Not only for their health and physical well being, but also becoming good citizens and being mentored by police officers and former police officers. What a great example for the children,” said Barry.
The next step is getting officers in classrooms. Barry says they are working with Clark County School District to better mentor students in school.