Milwaukee police to start carrying trading cards
"We've seen firsthand how that small gesture can go a long way toward fostering communication between law enforcement and the community"
By Ashley Luthern
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
MILWAUKEE — The basketball cards are coming back.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Daktronics, which makes trading cards and scoreboards, announced Thursday they will donate 10,000 packages of sports cards to the Milwaukee Police Department. Daktronics also will provide six new scoreboards for Milwaukee-area schools and youth centers, starting with the COA Youth and Family Center in Riverwest.
"It's a wonderful opportunity for us to have positive interactions with children," Police Chief Edward Flynn said at a news conference, which was streamed online by local TV stations.
Each set of Bucks player cards will feature all 15 team members in a package with the logos of the Bucks and Police Department.
"We've seen firsthand how that small gesture can go a long way toward fostering communication between law enforcement and the community," Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry said. He was joined by Mayor Tom Barrett and other city officials at the news conference.
"I love the basketball cards. I think it's a wonderful way, and a very simple way, to improve communication between young people in the city and our Milwaukee police," Barrett said. "I think it's a win the young people to see police in a good light, and I think it's a win for the police to see young people in a good light."
Years ago, Milwaukee police officers routinely carried baseball or basketball cards and gave them away to children they encountered on the beat. At some point, companies stopped donating the cards to the department, and the practice was over by the time Flynn arrived in Milwaukee nearly a decade ago.
But residents didn't forget about the cards. In conversations over the past several years, people have repeatedly brought up the subject when asked about police-community relations. One of the recommendations from listening circles police held with residents last year in several city neighborhoods was bringing back the cards.
Their return was "something we've been hoping for a number of years," Flynn said.
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