Submitted by Longport Police Dept.

The Longport Police Department took part in a community policing initiative, Saturday, Oct. 3, called, “Hearts behind the Badge.” The event was designed to utilize the strengths of each individual officer in an effort to uniquely bond with the community.

Ptl. Shaune Slattery, a former standout basketball player at Mainland Regional High School and team captain of the Division I LaSalle University Women’s Basketball Team, used her basketball talents to host a basketball clinic for area youths. Slattery regularly trains youth through summer and winter recreational basketball leagues, and used her skills to show local youths that police are approachable and have similar interests.

Ptl. Quinton Wright, Ptl. Matthew Long and SLEO I Officers Brandon Garofalo and Timothy Tighe assisted with skills training. For two hours, the boys and girls worked on footwork, dribbling, shooting and competition drills.

“This is one of many initiatives we will be utilizing to bring people together and develop important bonds of trust between the young people of our community and Longport’s law enforcement officers,” said Ptl. Frank Lupperger, Longport’s community policing liaison.

“As a police department, we believe strongly in creating positive relationships with the community, especially the youth,” Slattery said. “Events like the basketball clinic provide kids with the unique opportunity to interact with police officers in ways they never have before and create memories they will not soon forget.”