COVID-19 has added challenges, and created more than a social distance between Utica law enforcement and the community it serves, but there's a cool new intiative that could change all that.

Utica Mayor Rob Palmieri and Utica Police Chief Mark Williams jointly made the announcement about the Poiice Community Athletic League (PCAL), which aims to curb gun violence, promote the benefits of careers in law enforcement, and develop a positive relationship between the police force and children in the community.

Friendly competition is the common meeting ground. And, since the pandemic put the kibosh on physical activities like basketball, the PCAL has another plan:

Due to the limitations of physical and athletic interaction as a result of COVID-19, the first PCAL activity will consist of a 4-week Video Game Competition that will occur every Monday in November, beginning November 9th, from 3:00pm-6:00pm at Cornerstone Church, 500 Plant Street Utica.

Any Utica resident between grades 6-12 can participate. To register for the program, you can call 315-624-9930 and press option 9.

Participants will be randomly assigned to teams with Utica Police Officers and compete to win prizes. The grand prize is an Xbox One Kindle Bundle, which was donated by the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police.

There's more info on the Utica Police Department website.

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