Officers Form Bond With Teen Suspects Caught Vandalizing Building


Wednesday, August 5th 2020, 9:50 pm
By: Clayton Cummins


OKLAHOMA CITY -

On June 30, the Oklahoma City Police Athletic League was devastated when six teenagers sprayed graffiti all over their building located at 3816 S. Robinson Ave.

Instead of pressing charges, came an opportunity to clean it up and so much more.

The Oklahoma City Athletic League serves middle school students between 5th and 6th grade, working to help kids succeed.

This recent incident has left quite a few smiles on faces.

The entire building had been covered in spray paint graffiti.

“Our officers were really upset really because they take so much ownership and so much pride in this building,” said Peter Evans, Executive Director at the Oklahoma City Police Athletic League. “What we are doing here for the community and for someone to show up and really just treat it like it wasn't that important was hurtful to them.”

After watching security camera footage, an officer recognized a suspect as someone who had visited before. 

In all, six kids were told to come back and clean it up. 

“The first day was a challenge and then when they came back the second day, attitudes were better,” said Sgt. Jose Pena, a PAL officer. “They knew what they had to come here and do. Surprisingly they all showed up and they went to work.”

Work eventually ended but what PAL officers never expected, is the teens return Monday. The group was picking up trash on the basketball court while everyone was at lunch.  

“They were quick to run up to us, give us hugs, give us high fives,” said Evans. “These kids who were calling us names a month ago were here just to hang out and tell us what has been going on. They were quick to say that they are staying out of trouble and they are doing the right stuff.”

Officers believe the teens regret their decision. A little tender loving care goes a long way.  

“When they show up it makes me want to work harder,” said Pena. “It makes me want to give back more. That is the feeling we get when we do this.”

Officers said all six teens are welcome back anytime. 

If you think your kids would benefit from PAL, contact them on social media or via e-mail at okcpal@okcpal.org.