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Cal Ripken in Milwaukee to propose solution to youth violence

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken was in Milwaukee on Tuesday, September 17th -- proposing a solution to the problem of youth violence.

The nation's attorneys general are gathered in Milwaukee for their annual summit meeting, and the focus for the country's top cops is stopping youth violence.

"People aren't educated as to how bad and how much exposure our kids have to violence," Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said.

Van Hollen is the president of the National Association of Attorneys General.

"We've got to somehow turn that around and give some of these children who've had those adverse experiences, some positive experiences," Van Hollen said.

Van Hollen brought in baseball's iconic "Iron Man," Cal Ripken to make his pitch for a potential solution. Ripken told the group about a program he started and funds through his father's foundation, called "Badges for Baseball."

"The Badges for Baseball program, the key is in the people, and there's been many passionate law enforcement guys who actually take this seriously, and it really is magical," Ripken said.

It brings police officers to coach at-risk kids, helping to develop discipline and character by teaching the value of teamwork.

"Law enforcement come in and they're oftentimes seen as the bad guy, because they're seen taking one of the people in the community out and arresting them and doing those sorts of things. Law enforcement love this because now they're seen in a different light. They're seen as people who are teaching and paying attention to the kids, so it does build trust between the kids and law enforcement, so both sides benefit," Ripken said.

Ripken says baseball can build bridges -- showing kids and cops that they're on the same team.

8,500 kids in Wisconsin have participated in the "Badges for Baseball" program in Wisconsin over the last five years.