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Muskogee Police Officers, Coaches Team Up To Reach Kids

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MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma -

The Muskogee Police Department is working on a new idea to reach out to children.

They're working with public school track coaches to build relationships.

The training camp is kicking off the track season for a lot of kids who wouldn't otherwise have a track season.

It's the first year for the camp -- a first try at a style of community policing that's new for Muskogee.

About 40 children took part, from elementary age to middle school.

It's the work of twin brothers - Ron and Don Mayes - one of them a police officer, the other a track coach.

They're both working out with the children in trying to teach more than just better form and longer strides.

"Getting out of the uniform, putting on a track shirt, getting with the kids, showing them things,” Ron Mayes said. “Now we're getting a better relationship with the kids and their parents as well."

The one day camp and the practices that follow were open to anyone who wanted to come.

About as many girls showed up as boys.

"You know what the result is -- the kids who are here,” Don Mayes said. “They thought to come. And I get to meet them, and see the on the streets, so I get to be part of their lives."

The coaches figure they'll help the children develop some athletic skills and the officers say that helps teach discipline.

Officer Lin Anderson says he's seen it first hand coaching youth football.

"When a kid can grow up and see an adult as a person and a police officer, they're naturally going to have more respect for you and work better with you, even years down the road,” Anderson said.

One young man says that worked for him, growing up with a police officer mentor as a coach. He's now helping out with the camp.

"You being my coach in little league football, and being a cop, being an adult, it's building those relationships,” Muskogee High School senior Luke Leather said.

The coaches and the cops will be working with the children throughout the season, but they'll go to their first track meet in Tahlequah in two weeks.

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