NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk Sheriff's deputies hit the court in an effort to connect with a local neighborhood.
The special basketball game started at 6 p.m. at the East Ocean View Community Center in Norfolk, Thursday.
Twelve deputies played against kids and adults for a chance to form positive relationships during a time when mass shootings, school walkouts and an officer-involved shooting in Sacramento are dominating the airwaves.
Norfolk Sheriff Joe Baron says he got the idea after seeing the Norfolk Police Department do something similar.
"It helps build, helps build relationships, but more importantly it helps the community see law enforcement is just like everybody else. We're human beings," he said.
After a round of hoops, a pizza party allowed the community to voice their concerns to law enforcement, one-on-one.
"It means a lot because they're showing them that we're not out to just put you away. We want to make the street a better place for you," said Monnarae Brown, a life-long resident of the East Ocean View area. "This neighborhood used to be a really bad place. The police, the only time they came around is when something serious was going on."
Not so anymore and the kids who had the opportunity the deputies said they were thankful.
"I thank them a lot for [taking time from saving people] to come spend time with us," said David Perrin, 9.
The game is part of a new partnership between the sheriff's office and the community center. Sheriff Baron says he's already interested in returning for another night of hoops.