MILWAUKEE -- Every child deserves a safe summer. That's why Milwaukee law enforcement officials opted to team up with residents to try to make it happen.
A sunny, warm Friday, June 7 wasn't enough to lure Deloerion McKinnie onto the basketball court -- or anyone onto the fields and playgrounds of Moody Park.
"Shoot, they always fighting," McKinnie said. "I call this a horrible park."
The park has earned a reputation for trouble and violence. Milwaukee police, cracking down before summer arrives, have opted to use collaboration instead of handcuffs.
"It don't cost no money to build a relationship," said Clifton Agagee, who mentors kids in the neighborhood.
Agagee said he's working to create a safe space for teenagers to talk about what's happening in Moody Park and why.
"How would you feel if you had to go home and there is no food, no lights? You had to stay there and watch your kid brother or sister? Mom doesn't come home 'till the next day. So yeah, there are some issues with these kids, but it's nothing that we can't fix. Nothing. We can fix it together," Agagee said.
Agagee said he was working to organize kickball and flag football games -- where officers and teenagers would play together -- replacing trouble with a bit of teamwork.
"They are gonna take their uniforms off and enjoy the park like the kids are supposed to enjoy the park," Agagee said.
Police and mentors said they were working to build a better community by drawing people back to Moody Park.