Lisa Marie Latino brought #HipNJ to the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ to meet with children and police officers participating in the Blueline Buddies program.
Blueline Buddies is a program that allows police officers and underprivileged youth to bond over a night of hockey. Through the Blueline Buddies program, children and officers get to see games and meet professional hockey players.
P.K. Subban, a defenseman for the New Jersey Devils, founded the program. He has previously received a Community Service award for his efforts with the Blueline Buddies. Subban told #HipNJ that he started the program because he wanted to improve the relationship between law enforcement and the community.
“Anybody that’s grown up in inner-city understands that law enforcement can be perceived in different ways,” Subban said. “I think that the law enforcement does such a great job through this program. We’ve experienced great officers and kids that have also been able to build bridges, and hopefully – maybe one day – some of these kids will be great hockey players.”
Arthur F., a young Newark resident, is one of the children who participated in the Blueline Buddies program.
“I’m happy that I’m here with my best friend,” Arthur said. “I never met a real, professional player and gotten autographs signed by somebody, so it’s cool.”
Officer Ricardo Barbosa and Mike Silva are both community service officers with the Newark Police. Barbosa expressed feeling the same “childlike wonder” the kids feel, and Silva praised both Subban’s work.
“I think when P.K. does something like this for the community, it builds a relationship with Newark police and our community here in Newark,” Silva said. “I think this is just a great day for Newark police, a great day for the kids, a great day for the city of Newark; and I just think that this is something, a relationship that’s going to go on for years and years.”
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