South Bend police aren't just on the streets this summer. They are also once again on the tennis court.
For 16 years, Chief Darryl Boykins has organized a summer tennis program for city youth. It began with Boykins, a couple of tennis rackets, and about a dozen kids. These days, more than 60 children take part each year and the program enjoys corporate sponsorships and a staff of instructors.
"I'm hoping they will take this sport and continue and maybe not become pros like Serena, but be able to come out here and do something positive and show the kids there are other things you can do," Boykins said.
“Every day we have a good time out here,” said Spencer Davis, staff instructor. “We're always laughing, goofing off, having a good time."
Over the years the program has expanded to include a multi-phased sports outreach including swimming and CPR training.
The chief's program has also gotten national attention from other cities interested in something similar.
“Several large police departments in the U.S. have expressed a strong desire to initiate programs such as this,” said Phil Trent, South Bend police captain. “However, funding has stopped most of them from advancing. South Bend's program has flourished with the help of private donations and corporate sponsors.”