GLOVERSVILLE -- Ulysses Taylor Jr. was working with his father fixing up a truck on Sunday morning, when they noticed other kids from the neighborhood playing football with some city police officers.
“Dad, check that out,” he said to his father, Ulysses Taylor Sr.
“I said, ‘Why don’t you go play ball with them?' ” Ulysses Sr. told the Daily Gazette.
While the kids played some football with the police officers, Char Norton, a city resident, said she happened to be going by the lot where they were playing. At first, when she saw three police cars, she thought something bad was happening. When she noticed it was police officers playing football with kids, she thought it was “awesome.”
So, she took a photo.
The photo was then shared on Facebook by resident and local photojournalist Bill Trojan. And within a couple of hours, the photo had more than 100 shares.
“It’s just great,” said Gloversville Mayor Dayton King. “Our group works really hard and makes sure to do community policing and let children know they’re there to help. I think the hope is that we can continue to build trust.”
It was a scene that was definitely pleasing for Norton to see. Especially since she said she has seen a lot of negative stories about police officers.
“I think it’s a good thing that they did,” Norton said,even though it only involved a few kids. “But it has to start somewhere.”
Ulysses Sr. said it took him by surprise. He said he doesn’t usually see police officers interact like that with the public very often.
“It’s pretty cool they stopped and played some ball with the kids,” Ulysses Sr. said.
The moment inspired him to want to organize an actual event around having the police interact with kids. Ulysses Sr. said he’d like to invite the police, EMS and firefighters to have pizza parties or cookouts to allow for better interactions with the community.
“I’d like to see more of that in the city,” he said. “It shows the younger kids there’s nice people out there and they do care that the kids are safe.”
Ulysses Jr. said it was "pretty cool" to play with the police officers.
"It was pretty nice," he said. "Even though I intercepted the ball from them."
King said the city’s police officers do try to interact with the community as much as possible. He sees it as a proactive approach in trying to create a healthier environment in the city. It’s something he encourages them to do. He encourages them to have fun with their job.
“When this happens, you get to know the police officers by name, you get to know they’re just regular men and women who put on a uniform,” King said. “And they want to have fun, too.”
Most of the time, King said police officers in the city are having to respond to calls involving drugs or domestic violence incidents. So, it’s good to break up those incidents with moments like what happened on Sunday.
He’s also happy the moment was caught on camera.
“I hope this is image is being shared,” King said. “I’m sure, by the end of the week, it’ll have 500 shares.”
By 8 p.m. Sunday night, the photo had actually already been shared more than 440 times.