'Basketball Cop' surprises students with hoop, basketballs
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Students at the MycroSchool bounced off the walls when Gainesville Police Department's famous "Basketball Cop" showed up Friday morning.
Jerrika Rushing,17, a student at the school said, "Most of us don't get a chance to play basketball everyday, so when we get a chance, we get out here and we hoop."
Another student, Nate Jones, 16, said, "It's good for me because basketball's my favorite sport."
Officer Bobby White makes it his mission to get kids playing basketball to keep them out of trouble. His foundation, with help from GPD, donated a brand new hoop and several basketballs for hundreds of kids at the Gainesville school.
"It's a great feeling," Officer Bobby White, also known as the "Basketball Cop," told Fox 35's David Williams. "Knowing that something as simple as a basketball goal and some balls…what a huge impact it can make on so many kids."
The school helps students get back on track to graduation after battling things like behavioral issues or falling behind in school.
Rushing said, "I'm very thankful for the goal."
Jones said, "I play basketball to relieve stress, when I've got nothing to do."
Officer Kim Madsen connected Officer White with the children. She said the school was looking for a way to boost attendance.
"It's great! I want to see smiles on their faces," she said. "I hope something positive comes of it."
Officer White and Dean of Students Daniel Barnett said they hope it means more than free basketballs and a basketball hoop for the nearly 300 students that go to the school.
Barnett said, "This is giving them the opportunity to see they can interact with police and see the community is not their enemy."
Officer White said, "That trust between the community and law enforcement, mainly the kids."
It was another slam dunk for the community thanks to the "Basketball Cop".