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Hometown Heroes: PACE program

Posted: 12:51 PM, Nov 07, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-07 18:51:39Z

Wednesday in La Vista the FBI will honor two organizations and one couple for going above and beyond in serving our community. 

One of those organizations is Police Athletics for Community Engagement (PACE), which uses sports to build relationships between officers and kids. 

The program was started in 2005 by the Omaha Police Latino Police Officer's Association with the mission of having police coach at-risk youth with the intent of keeping them out of trouble. 

It is also free and officers say it not only builds relationships but gives kids an opportunity they may not otherwise have. 

"If it wasn't for PACE, we actually wouldn't be here to be honest. Because it actually kept us out of trouble during that time," former PACE participant Ibrahim Bobo said. "We grew up in the rough part of town in the South Omaha Projects is what they called it. A lot of things used to go on around there. And us as little kids we used to play around there so sometimes we would get caught up in incidents that would happen with Omaha gangs and stuff."

Since 2005, the program has expanded from just soccer to flag football and baseball as well. 

"If they weren't developing relationships with us on the ball field, unfortunately, the first time they would meet us would be under difficult circumstances because that's the role of what we do," Omaha Police Captain Ken Kanger said. "But this gives kids the opportunity to learn about us, find out more about police officers in general, and develop so many skills that are going to benefit them later in life."