IMPD and the Indy Public Safety Foundation (IPSF) are excited to announce two significant investments being made in the Indy Police Athletic and Activities League (Indy PAL) program – providing resources to an impactful community-based program building relationships between law enforcement and under-appreciated youth.
After assuming administrative and fiscal oversight of the Indy PAL program in 2019, IPSF began making much needed program improvements – from staff to facilities to equipment. Indy PAL’s main hub of operation is JTV Hill Park, an Indy Parks facility operated in partnership with IMPD. JTV Hill Park has been a staple of the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood since it was built in 1961 and was named in honor of James T.V. Hill, one of the first black attorneys admitted to the bar in Indianapolis.
“As Indy Parks creates places and experiences that inspire, we are grateful for our partnership with IMPD to offer much needed programs for youth and their families at JTV Hill Park,” said Linda Broadfoot, Indy Parks director. “From fitness to educational activities, Indy PAL is making valuable contributions to help communities stay healthy and to increase access to resources in our parks and in their neighborhoods.”
In February 2020, IPSF was awarded an NBA All-Star Legacy Grant toward redevelopment of two new outdoor basketball courts at JTV Hill Park. In February, the NBA All-Star 2021 Legacy Committee selected 21 brick-and-mortar projects focused on health and wellness or education that will impact youth across the state. With this legacy grant and support from the Indy Parks Foundation, the project represents the largest investment in the program to date at approximately $160,000. Today marks the official groundbreaking of the exciting project, which will be finished by the end of the year.
“From STEM learning labs to basketball courts like this at JTV Hill Park, these NBA All-Star Legacy projects exhibit the importance of taking an event like NBA All-Star and making it more than a game for our great communities throughout Indiana,” said Rick Fuson, Founding Chairman, All-Star Board of Directors and President and Chief Operating Officer, Pacers Sports & Entertainment. “We are thrilled to see these courts renewed which will lead to more basketball leagues and pick-up games as we work to engage and unite our neighbors through the game of hoops.”
IPSF and IMPD have also named Lea Gurnell as the Director of the Indy PAL program. Ms. Gurnell has been involved with Indy PAL for many years and is the first paid staff person to oversee the program in over 20 years. This significant investment will help ensure the program continues to growth and create impact, especially during a time when relationships between law enforcement and the community are extremely strained.
“The IMPD has long recognized the impact of Indy PAL, and has participated in programming alongside our city’s youth for the 80 years since the organization’s inception,” said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor. “We are proud to work with the Indy Public Safety Foundation and other partners to increase investment in these programs that help build long-term relationships between police and the community and provide safe outlets for young people in Indianapolis.”
Indy PAL is a member chapter of the National Association Police Athletic & Activities Leagues and served over 2,500 youth in 2019. In accordance with national best practices, Indy PAL uses athletics and activities to create meaningful dialogue and engagement between police officers and youth ages 9 to 18. The program does not allow cost to be a barrier to participation in sports such as basketball, baseball, football, cheerleading, dance and more. IMPD officers and civilian staff provide wrap-around services, education, training and support for participating youth.
“The Indy PAL program is an established, proven method to develop high trust relationships between law enforcement and the community, particularly communities of color. We look forward to highlighting the incredible work of IMPD officers to engage, mentor, recruit and support Indy’s youth,” said Dane Nutty, IPSF Executive Director.
IPSF enthusiastically welcomed Indy PAL into its programming mix, which focuses on youth engagement and recruitment. Indy PAL will serve as an effective outreach strategy to communities under-represented in the department – especially females and communities of color.
“IPSF believes strongly in the impact made by the Indy PAL program since its establishment in 1940,” said Nichole Wilson, chair of the IPSF Board of Directors. “We are thankful to Pacers Sports & Entertainment, the NBA All-Star Legacy Committee and others for demonstrating their support through investments in the program and we look forward to the collaborative efforts to ensure the program meets a vital community need in Indianapolis.”
To learn more about the Indy PAL program, register your child or make a financial contribution, please visit www.indy-pal.org.