– Prevent youth crime in Delaware by providing youth between the ages of 8 to 18 with supervised athletic, educational, and social development activities.
– Reach out to youth with programs which address citizenship, self-esteem, substance abuse, and respect for law and order.
– Encourage participation and support by the community in P.A.L. programs to help build a solid foundation for Delaware’s youth- for life.
The Police Athletic League of Delaware prides itself on being an integral part of the lives of young people. Throughout the school year as well as the summer months the PAL offers many different prevention programs that we hope will deter juvenile delinquency. Through collaboration with the New Castle County Police Department the effectiveness of these programs is intensified. The officer’s presence and influences on the young people promote a positive outlook for possible future endeavors.
P.A.L. is currently reaching out to Delaware’s youth from three sites in New Castle County; New Castle, Hockessin and Delaware City.
PAL of Delaware was founded by three New Castle County Police Officers in 1984. Thomas Gordon, John Cunningham, and Scott Phillips recognized the need in Delaware for a PAL chapter. With the support of the community, they were able to start the first PAL in Delaware.
“Far too many youngsters make their first contact with a policeman in unsavory circumstances. The P.A.L. philosophy is to remedy that situation by ensuring that the first encounter of the youth and the policeman is in a positive environment on the friendly field of sports competition.”
It was on such a note that the national P.A.L. program was born.
It started when a gang of New York toughs, harassing storekeepers and generally making life miserable in their neighborhood, threw a rock through a storekeeper’s window. Lt. Ed W. Flynn, New York Police Department Crime Prevention Bureau, took on the case and tracked down the ringleader in hopes of finding out just exactly what was responsible for the kids’ anti-social behavior.
The kids complained: “We ain’t got no place to play-nothing to do. The cops are always hasslin’ us. We can’t even play baseball.”
That was all it took for Lt. Flynn, a staunch baseball fan himself, to get things rolling. “Why,” he reasoned, “should the police chase kids from doing what was normal? Why not help those kids form a team? Give them a place to play under police supervision. Be a friend instead of an enemy.”
He talked it over with some of his fellow officers and some of the neighbor- hood shopkeepers. They liked the idea and each chipped in a dollar for equipment and uniforms. Lt. Flynn found a playground where the gang could play under the eye of a policeman. The team was an instant success.
By the end of that summer, there were a dozen teams-followed by an indoor youth center. And P.A.L. was born.