The Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) is excited to announce a partnership with SCHEELS. SCHEELS is making a $12,000 donation to support Play COS. This equates to a 3-year commitment to partner with CSPD to give sports balls to kids in Colorado Springs.
In January of 2021, the CSPD’s Community Relations Unit developed Play COS. The goal was simple. Through donations, supply each of CSPD’s patrol divisions with sports balls (i.e. footballs, soccer balls, basketballs) for officers to keep in their cruisers to give out to kids and teens during their shift. The program also involves sports-focused events in which officers interact with community members through athletics and recreation. Giving away sports equipment or donations is not a new concept to law enforcement. What makes Play COS unique from any other, was both its ability to make an expansive impact and its ability to bring the community together.
In the first 18 months of the program, just over 2,500 balls have been given away, hosting 52 Play COS events, and making donations to three community centers and 13 local schools. We have also helped eight other local departments, close to two dozen departments nationwide, and local military contacts set the groundwork for similar programs.
We have also seen a tremendous benefit to the community and our officers. We have heard from so many officers how Play COS provides them the chance, even if only for a two-minute game of catch, to interact with kids and be reminded of all the good that comes from policing their community. We have also seen firsthand and heard from others a similar story. Kids from all socio-economic backgrounds now know of Play COS and have run up to officers whether during a call for service or while officers are parked filling out paperwork and asking our officers about the sports balls or to play a game of catch. At a recent Play COS event, a Crimes Against Children detective stated, "having fun and connecting in a positive way, was the reset my head and heart needed."
Chief Adrian Vasquez expressed his joy at the continuation of this important program, “We appreciate SCHEELS’ investment in the children of our community through this donation to Play COS. It is an investment in not just the children but in the relationship between the police and our community. The enjoyment of sports crosses all barriers, and these sports balls help everyone enjoy the benefits of spending time playing sports together. With this donation, we will be able to hand out sports balls to children throughout the City of Colorado Springs. While our officers get to enjoy the first few minutes of handing out and playing with the different sports balls and kids, we are happy that then families and friends will also get to enjoy these activities.”
Jacey Sharping Marketing Leader from SCHEELS stated, "SCHEELS is proud to continue our partnership with Play COS and for years to come. We recognize the impact that Play COS is making between the CSPD and youth in our community and are thankful for the opportunity to make a difference within this program!”
We measure our success by positive impact, and we are incredibly proud of the lasting difference Play COS has made and will make in the future. This donation from SCHEELS will help us continue to grow the program and to continue to bring our community closer together. To learn more about Play COS please visit https://coloradosprings.gov/police-department/page/play-cos.