ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) – A Rockford police officer went one on one to give back to the community he serves.
Rockford Community Resource Officer Aaron Murphy has spent the past two years working out of a strong house on 8th Avenue, and he said part of his job is to take note of any changes in the neighborhood.
Recently, while on patrol, he realized that some local kids had stopped gathering at their favorite hangout spot. The problem, it turns out, was a couple of broken basketball hoops that were keeping the kids from playing.
“I take this road home every single day, and usually I have to stop in the middle of the road because they’re playing basketball, playing football, something,” said Murphy. “For probably the last half of August, I noticed there were no more kids out. When I saw the broken hoops, and I had the ability to help, I had to help.”
Murphy reached out to Dick’s Sporting Goods in Rockford, and the manager ended up donating a new hoop the kids could use.
Keeping kids busy can help make sure they stay out of trouble, according to Murphy.
“Mom used to always say, ‘idle hands are the devil’s play toy,’ said Murphy. “Absolutely, keeping them busy, keeping them in good, structured type of fun, is absolutely essential.”
When the equipment was brought back to the neighborhood, police were challenged to a friendly competition.
“They absolutely destroyed us the first game, but we came back the second game to show them how it’s done,” Murphy said.
As a strong house officer, Murphy feels he is at an advantage when it comes to building relationships with the community.
“I think it was six months in, somebody knocked on the door and said ‘my kid’s locked in the car, help me, help me, help me.’ And so I got to go down there and help her. I just gave a ball and a bat to a group, there was probably six kids,” said Murphy. “I absolutely enjoy doing it. I get to put smiles on people’s faces and hang out with them, play basketball. It’s an absolute dream job.”