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Kickball game connects kids with neighborhood officers

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JENNINGS, MO (KTVI) - Kickball, pizza and a little bit of trash talking made for a lively afternoon  Wednesday at a Jennings Elementary School.

Add tactical operations officers to the equation and things get even more exciting.

“It’s a chance for us to have some good fun,” St. Louis County Police Officer Justin Sparks said.

Sparks and nearly two dozen other members from the department participated in a friendly game of kickball with students at Hanrahan Elementary on Lucas and Hunt Road Wednesday.

“It gives us - and myself - and opportunity to see on a very human level, to make a connection that we don’t always necessarily get to do.”

Organizers of the event agree. Antona Jones, a grant manager with the nonprofit organization Arches, said it is important for children at the school to connect with police.

“A lot of times their only interaction is when there’s something traumatic happening, that they’re just not sure if that’s a safe space or not. Activities like this allow them to see police outside of something traumatic happening,” Jones said.