A Fine Example of Community Policing: South Carolina Police Officer Filmed Playing Football with Neighborhood Kids in a Housing Authority Development Area

BennettsvillePoliceBadgeBy Elaine Magliaro

A man named Lorenzo Adams was driving his car in Bennettsville, South Carolina the other day when he spotted a police officer playing football with some young kids. Adams stopped his car and decided to catch the “delightful interaction” on camera. On Tuesday, Adams shared the video on Facebook—where it went viral. ABC News reported that as of Thursday afternoon the video had had 4 million views.

In the video, police officer C.J. Mullinax can be seen playing football with kids on a field in a Bennettsville Housing Authority development area. On Thursday, Officer Mullinax told ABC News that what he was doing was “the kind of community interaction the chief preaches to the department every day, and he hopes the video will show the public not all cops are bad, while encouraging other police departments in strained relationships with their communities to follow suit.”

Heartening Video Shows South Carolina Cop Playing Football With Kids

Larry McNeil, the chief of the Bennettsville Police Department, told ABC News, “I believe you can do so much more chasing a kid while holding a basketball or football than chasing a kid while holding a baton or gun. I always tell my guys they can do more with what’s between their ears — their brain — than the holster on their side.”

McNeil also said that “he makes it mandatory for his cops to always go on walks in the town a few times a week and just spend time and catch up with the community.” He said that the police “also hold events such as neighborhood nights out, especially in housing development areas, where they’ll catch up and make hot dogs with adults and give out freebies to kids.”

ABC News:

Mullinax said he often goes over to areas with the worst crime to play basketball with kids there or talk to the adults and see how they’re doing.

Adams, who is a resident of Bennettsville, told ABC News that he was able to talk to Mullinax Wednesday night and thank him over the phone. Adams said, “These days, there’s so much negativity out there, and I just wanted to record it so Bennettsville could see we have good police officers here no matter what might be happening elsewhere.” He added, “[Mullinax] thanked me for taking it, but really, he’s the hero to thank — in addition to all the people who saw the same thing I saw and helped the video go viral.”

Three cheers for Police Chief McNeil and Officer Mullinax!

SOURCES

Cop Spotted Playing Football With Kids: ‘We Need To Earn Back Respect From The Community’ (Huffington Post)

Heartening Video Shows South Carolina Cop Playing Football With Kids (ABC News)

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25 Responses to A Fine Example of Community Policing: South Carolina Police Officer Filmed Playing Football with Neighborhood Kids in a Housing Authority Development Area

  1. “I always tell my guys they can do more with what’s between their ears — their brain — than the holster on their side.”

    Sounds like Chief McNeil is of the same school of thought as our own Dr. Stanley.

    Good on him and Officer Mullinax.

  2. Gene,
    When our own Celtic Lassie was interviewed, she was asked what her best asset is that she brings to the job. She didn’t even hesitate, replying, “My mouth.”

    She has been offered jobs by practically every sheriff’s department in East Tennessee.

  3. An addnote: She did not say anything about her ability to put round after round through the same hole in the center of a target.

    They were more interested in her ability to calm upset people down with a look and word.

  4. Chuck,

    I was always taught that words are the first weapon, both defensively and offensively, and found that to be good wisdom. To me, that ought to be lesson one in civilian policing. That is also one of the reasons I find the trend to hire former MPs as civilian police troubling. Their training is generally to bust heads first and ask questions after.

  5. bettykath says:

    That video showed up on my fb page. If every chief had the same attitude about policing and passed it on his/her force, while rejecting the militarization being pushed on them, we would have a very different atmosphere in so many cities.

  6. blouise says:

    I believe the hits have reached the 12 million mark. This is good for everybody. Two relatively small gestures, the officer stopping to play and the citizen stopping to record, brought hope and smiles to millions. Enter the media and we find within the backstory a Chief who honestly cares about his officers and the citizens of the community they serve.

  7. bettykath says:

    Here’s a different video that helps to explain what most of here already know

  8. Elaine M. says:

    I was planning to write about Police Chief Magnus out in Richmond, California, when I came across this story about Officer Mullinax. I heard an interview with Magnus on the radio last week–so I went looking for information about him. Here’s one of the articles that I came across:

    Richmond police chief: ‘All lives matter. That’s really what community policing should be about.’
    http://news.yahoo.com/richmond-california-police-chief-chris-magnus-talks-community-policing-in-katie-couric-interview-044448393.html

    Excerpt:
    Since Magnus took over as Chief in Richmond, he has instituted geographic policing, where officers are assigned to specific beats over an extended period of time, sometimes as long as several years. He has also challenged his officers to do more than just respond to calls. Evaluations are now based in part on how much officers engage with and address the residents’ top priorities. Back in 2006, for example, despite the high homicide rate, one of the first things residents complained to Magnus about was the number of abandoned vehicles on the streets. While addressing this problem first may have seemed counterintuitive, it went a long way toward building trust. “It sent a very powerful message to residents that we were actually listening to them and were willing to make their priorities our priorities,” Magnus told Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric.

    Acting in partnership with the community on such minor matters can have hugely positive effects when it comes to tackling violent crime as well. “Just starting a conversation sometimes leads to surprising results,” says Magnus. As relationships get built, residents are more likely to talk to officers they know and provide tips that either solve or prevent more serious crimes down the road.

    Longtime community advocate Kathleen Sullivan has never been afraid to call the command staff when she sees an officer behaving badly. The fact that they listen has changed everything. Now she feels comfortable telling others “Sometimes when you’re concerned, you need to call the police. Because they are here to get the bad guy.”

    The term “community policing” has become such a buzz phrase that “Pretty much every department, if you ask them, would say they’re doing community policing,” says Magnus, “And I think most believe it. But the challenge is: is community policing really policing the community in the way that the community wants to be policed, or is it driven by the police department?” Magnus’ approach has been to build partnerships with the community at every opportunity, learning from the residents what their priorities are, in order to define where resources should go.

  9. bettykath says:

    Here’s a bad news/good news video. Unmarked car, men dressed in street clothes, looks like an attempted kidnapping. Community steps in, cops back off without beating or shooting anyone.
    http://www.alternet.org/nypd-officers-attempt-arrest-14-year-old-girl-community-doesnt-allow-it

  10. bettykath says:

    Sorry, video link is in the article.

  11. I. Annie says:

    Chuck,
    Your lassie sounds like an extraordinary young woman. I wish she would be able to fulfill her full potential. Life can be so unfair.

  12. Annie,
    You are so right. One of her other assets is The Stare. She has the enormous pale blue eyes of the Scottish Highlands. However, she can switch on what I call the Hannibal Lecter look when someone is out of line.

    While in school, she was bullied once. Once. In Seventh Grade. A boy who was a known troublemaker stabbed her in the hand with a sharpened pencil as he walked by her desk. She went down to the Justice Center, filed assault charges against him and had him arrested. The school administration freaked out and did everything they could to torpedo her case. Blame the victim strategy, but she did not back down and went to court.

    In high school she could intimidate with The Look.

    Known bullies wailing, “Ms Jones make her stop. She is STARING at me.”

    Later, she had the pleasure of slapping handcuffs on the kid, now young adult, who had stabbed her in the hand. Apparently he looked so cute wearing the finest bracelets Smith & Wesson makes. In pink.

    Promises and potential for good unfulfilled. Unfair does not even come close.

  13. I. Annie says:

    Chuck she would’ve made a wonderful mother too, with that stare. The world missed out on that.

  14. bron98 says:

    bozo:

    that is so inappropriate on this thread.

  15. bron98 says:

    Gene

    will you please delete the above post? I know you are not into censoring but that is just grossly inappropriate. I would also block that person so they cannot post here again.

  16. I was doing just that as you wrote that post, B. Apparently I’m going to have to clarify ad hominem versus insult again. Some clowns never learn.

  17. bron98 says:

    bozo:

    what an absolutely demented and despicable human being you must be.

    What you posted was obscene.

  18. For clarification: bozo’s comment was deleted as a violation of rules 1, 2 and 4(b).

  19. Elaine M. says:

    They just never stop with their crap, do they?

  20. Compulsion is a form of mental illness when taken to extremes, Elaine.
    Either he truly can’t help it or he just rolls with it by choice.
    Same result, either way.
    But that the compulsion exists is hard to deny by the evidence.

  21. Bron,
    I had not seen it until I noticed your comment. I went to the dashboard files to see what that was about. Holy crap! Bron, we disagree on a lot of stuff, but I think we are all on the same page regarding that particular troll. What a waste of carbon.

  22. bettykath says:

    Aw, shucks. I missed the fireworks. 😦

  23. Elaine M. says:

    Chuck,

    I hadn’t seen the comment either–so I didn’t know what bron was referring to. I read bozo’s comment in the dashboard files too. The fellow is one sick puppy!

  24. I. Annie says:

    Oh boy, let me guess. No I can just imagine.

Comments are closed.