San Diego Police step up to improve community relations - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego Police step up to improve community relations

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Months after San Diego Police hit the court for a friendly basketball game to improve community relations, on Wednesday they took a swing at a new game.

In a friendly game of redemption, the San Diego Police Department's eastern division took on the parents and staff at St. Columba Catholic Elementary School.

"These officers are people, too. They have families, they are part of our community and we need to embrace them," said St. Columba's principal, Rose Navarro.

Last fall, the school beat the police department in a game of 5-5 basketball by one point.

For many, it's more than just a game. In San Diego, these games work to bring the community closer to law enforcement to build trust.

"Police, they are really special to me because they help my neighborhood and everybody else," said third grade student, John Jordan.

The police department's eastern division runs St. Columba's safety patrol, but on Wednesday officers traded their blues for a glove, bat and cleats.

"A lot of people see a police officer in uniform, they think authority. They don't see behind the badge. We are fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters," said Officer Victor Rodriguez.

Wednesday's game was the police department's comeback, beating Columba 17-7.

"We can all come together as one and have a friendly game," said St. Columba coach, Paul Palacios.

Both teams said they want to battle another game to see who could be reigning champions, this time volleyball or soccer.

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