The Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) Community Relations Unit has developed a program called “PLAY COS,” which is aimed at creating more opportunities for positive interactions between officers and community members in Colorado Springs.
Program Description: Through donations, the idea is to 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/giveaway events in which officers interact with numerous young community members through sports and recreation. The overall goal is for this program to become a long-term, ongoing, sports program that will be a permanent fixture in CSPD’s department-wide community outreach efforts for years to come.
Why we are starting this program: The CSPD has always been intentional in its efforts to connect with community members. Often times officers would spend their own money to buy sports equipment for kids. While this still happens, PLAY COS is now a formalized program within the department.
Additionally, the CSPD is committed to strengthening the relationship with our community and consistently finding opportunities to connect with the people we serve. Having sports balls in police cars will allow for officers to have brief, but very positive interactions, with our community by simply giving away sports balls to kids/teens/families. It may also lead to the officer and community member even quickly playing catch before the officer goes to the next call.
Why we believe this is important: We at CSPD believe this will improve police/community relations because it allows our community to interact with officers in a more organic, simple, and fun way. Nothing criminal, nothing too serious, just officers and community members having a positive interaction.
In the first 18 months of the program, just over 2,500 balls have been given away, hosting 57 Play COS events, and making donations to three community centers and 10 local schools. We have also helped eight other local departments, as well as close to two dozen departments nationwide and local military contacts set the groundwork for similar programs. Our community also sees the success of the program. Due to both its popularity and strong impact, we had a local business donate $12,000 with the sole purpose of making Play COS a permanent fixture in the community.
PLAYCOS by The Numbers
Play COS has been up and running since January 2021, and CSPD officers have already given away over 6,000 balls to local kids and teens. There have been 96 Play COS events and donations made to 3 community centers and 30 local schools across all of Colorado Springs. Play COS has created over 35,000 positive police/community interactions since its inception. We have also helped eight other local departments, as well as close to two dozen departments worldwide and local military contacts set the groundwork for similar programs.
If you would like to become involved in the program and/or make a donation: Please reach out to the CSPD Community Relations Unit at 719-444-7410 or via email at CSPDCommunityRelations@coloradosprings.gov .