Hoping to level up in an ongoing effort to rebuild bonds with the community, the NYPD Community Affairs Unit unveiled on Wednesday mobile video game trucks designed to give youth a safe space to play.
The NYPD rolled up outside PS/IS 323 in Brownsville on Oct. 20 to treat students to a party filled with pizza and games. This was all a part of a new initiative that looks to ensure low-income communities have improved access to electronic fun and a secure space to unwind.
“It’s about fun, but to me it’s more about opportunities. It’s about making sure that no matter what’s going on in the city. Whether we’re dealing with violence, we’re dealing with the vaccine we’re dealing with other issues of social justice, school to prison pipeline, or whatever it is we’re dealing with. We don’t forget that our young people just need a little outlet. They need a little fun. They need a place where they can go and be safe,” Chief of Community Affairs Jeffrey Maddrey said on Wednesday afternoon.
Students from PS/IS 323 flocked to the trucks where they played Mario Kart, the DC comics fighting game Injustice and even sports titles such NBA 2k22 on the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. In between the fun, the children recouped their strength by dining on free pizza and soda.
The trucks themselves were obtained thanks to funds donated by entrepreneur and child actor Brock Pierce, who as a gamer himself, says he wished to help share that joy.
“I grew up playing games and learning how to level up in the game. Where the game of life is so important to finding that prosperous future. And so, I’m just so honored to see this,” Pierce said.
Officials like Chief Maddrey believe programs like these serve the community in a multitude of ways, including building relationships between youth, giving parents much needed respite, and keeping kids off the streets and away from gang life.
“I always think that the police department is a resource, of course, our job is to fight crime, and to maintain or to provide services, but we are resource. When we can bring things like this into a community it allows young people to have fun. This is something that’s meaningful to them. It’s wonderful to them. And through these programs, we’ve been able to get younger kids to come to our youth center, and to other programs that we do,” Maddrey said.