BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Baton Rouge law enforcement hosted a pop-up barbeque event at Howell Park for community members with a goal to connect with residents and introduce a new free program for youth. 

“We always hear where there’s nothing for their child to do, and that’s maybe the reason why they tend to get in trouble or things of that nature. Well, guess what? We’re here to take care of that,” said Baton Rouge Police Department officer Kesha Palmer. “Now we have something in the north Baton Rouge area for any child to participate in right here in their own front and back yard.” 

The program is called Capital Area P.A.L. and it provides activities for youth between the ages of five and 17.

“We got anything from any type of sports, basketball, football, boxing. There are even coming up with a driving school. And again, this is a free program,” said Palmer. 

Sgt. Darren Ahmed of Baton Rouge Police Department says the program will bring mentorship and unity to the community. 

“We understand that children, there like small computers and in their adolescent ages, they’re steady, soaking up everything that they hear and see in the environment in which they are. So if we can create a positive environment, we can continue to talk to these children, engage with them not just as police officers, because police wear many hats,” he said. 

William Cook brought his son and is grateful for events like these because it allows his son to build a connection with law enforcement. 

“It’s important that they enter in the community to keep people aware they’re here to help them, not to be afraid of them,” Cook said. 

BRPD doesn’t have a deadline to sign up, but does urge the community to sign up their child as soon as possible. 

For more information about the Baton Rouge Police Department, click here