After an unidentified caller reported a group of children to the police for playing football in the street, officers promptly responded. But rather than reprimand the children, they chose a different response by joining in the game.
Shaker Heights, Ohio, mom Wendy Brown says that she encourages her children to “just be kids” by playing outside. “[T]hey were just playing football out in the street like they do any other time,” she told Fox 8.
“I don’t know the cop’s name,” Brown continued, “but he came to me and said, ‘I don’t know who would do it, but someone called police on the kids, they said they were playing in the street so we came by.’”
The police officer confided in Brown that he also used to play in the street as a child, then he and his two colleagues asked the kids if they could join in their game. Brown captured footage of the cheerful interaction on her cell phone.
The mom’s footage shows a young quarterback tossing the ball “downfield” toward two police officers, each vying for the catch. Sprinting down the street, they collide with the ball between them as onlookers whoop and laugh audibly.
On June 20, Brown uploaded her footage to Instagram, captioned, “A #Karen called the police on my kids for playing football in the street. The @shakerpolicedepartment pulled up and joined in on the game. Thank you for letting the kids be kids!”
“If we didn’t have the three gentlemen that came over to check on them, it could’ve gone way worse,” said Brown.
To date, Brown’s post has received over 24,000 likes. After the viral success of the first clip, Brown uploaded a second video of the energetic game between her children and the Shaker Heights police officers two days later.
“Probably the best call they had to go on all day,” commented one Instagram user.
The Shaker Heights Police Department responded to Brown’s footage on Twitter, writing, “The only thing our officers enjoy more than hanging with the kids is the chance to be kids themselves, even if for a moment!”
Elsewhere in Ohio, South Euclid police officer Joe DiLillo extolled the virtues of getting to know the local community. The kids in his city, some of whom he occasionally joins for a game of basketball, know him as “Officer Joe,” he said.
“I’ve never punched anybody, kicked anybody, stabbed anybody, shot anybody,” said DiLillo, who has served on the force for 15 years. “Most officers go their entire careers without doing so.”
Video Credit: Newsflare
DiLillo maintains that examples of positive relations between citizens and law enforcement, such as a friendly game of street football, are more vital now than ever before. There has been more than enough discord sewn in recent times.
“Nobody hates bad cops more than good cops,” he said, “and it’s unfortunate because there are so many hardworking police officers in this country who go to work everyday and want to do good.”
We would love to hear your stories! You can share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org