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For the Camden County Police Department, delivering on the promise of true Unity Policing is met through a variety of initiatives, with one of the most important being our Village Initiative that brings officers into the community hosting a variety of events to keep our residents young and old engaged and having fun.

And now thanks to our partners – the Philadelphia 76ers – and their incredibly generous donation of $120,000 over the next three years, we are able to expand the Village Initiative and host more weekly Open Gym nights.

On Tuesday, March 19, Chief Gabriel Rodriguez and Captain Vivian Coley joined representatives from the Sixers along with Mayor Victor Carstarphen and Camden County Commissioner Director Louis Capelli Jr. at the Kroc center to receive and celebrate the Sixers generous gift which has allowed for the addition of further Open Gym nights on Thursdays and a second Friday event geared specifically toward younger children. The event also served as a chance for some of the teenagers who regularly enjoy Open Gym to spend some extra time shooting hoops with officers on a Tuesday. One of them, Luis Cosme, addressed the audience and spoke about how important the Open Gym events have been for him and his own well-being, giving him something to look forward to each week and a safe place to play basketball.

“With this tremendous level of support from the Sixers, we’re going to be able to sustain Open Gym like this and expand on it for years to come,” said Captain Coley. “It’s something that truly gives us a chance to bring Unity Policing to out into the community. And for the officers who participate, it’s an assignment each week that lets them feel good physically and mentally, hitting on the important wellness component of Unity Policing.”

Written by Michael Daniels