July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Montville Twp. police rescue sports league

MONTVILLE TWP. — In May, things looked grim for the Police Activities League program operated by the Medina Police Department.

Two days a week, the program offers local youth a chance to play and learn in a safe environment after school at the National Guard Armory, 920 W. Lafayette Road. But when its creator and director, Detective Scott Thomas, received increased responsibilities in the Medina Police Department and could no longer devote as much time to the program, he could not find an individual or organization to rescue PAL —until now.

The Montville Township Police Department has come to the program’s rescue, and will hold its first day of the program Monday, according to township Sgt. Terry Grice.

Grice said the program will be housed at Garfield Elementary School, 234 S. Broadway St., from 3 to 6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays.

“We were approached by the juvenile court to take it over,” Grice said.

Juvenile/Probate Judge John J. Lohn’s office grants PAL $10,000 to $19,000 per year. Although it is an offshoot of the court’s Juvenile Diversion Program for delinquents, the program is open to any child age 10 to 17.

“I think it will be a great opportunity to build a rapport with some of the students in the area,” township trustee Jeff Brandon said.

Along with Montville officers, other local officers and teachers will provide recreation, homework help and tutoring to promote positive interaction between youth and law enforcement officials.

Medina Police Chief Patrick Berarducci said his department, which is continuing to manage the court’s diversion program for youth offenders, will continue to support the PAL program even though it has moved to Montville.

“We’re going to transfer the PAL van, which was purchased with court funds, and much of the sports equipment will go over there,” Berarducci said.

The PAL van is used to transport students to and from the program.

“I have $7,000 left in court diversion funds that we will not spend this year, and we’ll help Montville get started with their program. Let them have it,” he said.

He said his department is pleased that the program was saved.

“We’re very happy about it … the more we can do as a community for the kids, the better off we all are,” Berarducci said.

Contact Kaitlin Bushinski at (330) 721-4050 or kbushinski@medina-gazette.com.