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PACE program teaches CrossFit to kids in South Omaha

Posted at 10:37 PM, Mar 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-09 23:37:49-05

The Police Athletics for Community Engagement program (PACE) is offering a CrossFit class to kids in South Omaha. 

PACE, whose goal is to keep inner city kids active and off the streets, added Kinship CrossFit to their athletic program, which includes baseball, football and soccer. 

Antonio Espejo, a 17-year veteran with the police officer with the Omaha Police Department teaches the class three times a week at the Christie Heights Community Center. 

Espejo said they encourage PACE athletes to take the fitness class to stay active and out of trouble during the off-season.

"We usually get these kids in here, prior to whatever PACE sport they're going to participate in, and then they go and do their basketball or football or whatever and then they come back here and start training for the next year," said Espejo.

The class is a mixture of police officers and kids, as well as PACE sports coaches and other professionals from the area that surround PACE kids. Espejo said having officers sweat and work out with kids without a gun or a badge helps create better relationships with youth.

"One of those kids in there actually carjacked someone back in December. He's been coming back ever since, and has been very consistent," said Espejo. "That's one of the biggest words we use around here is consistency. Anything that you're consistent in you're going to be better at so if you're doing something consistent that's good, you're going to be better at being good."

The class started in May 2016. Espejo hopes to implement the class at other precincts to serve more kids in different communities.