August 05, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) In one of Chicago's most dangerous neighborhoods, police officers have created a league of their own.

The Englewood Police/Youth Baseball League aims to keep kids busy and away from summer violence.

Another goal? To change perceptions. The officers want children to see them as mentors and friends.

According to police statistics, the district that includes the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago's South Side had 46 homicides last year.

Retired Chicago police officer Marco Johnson says recruiting for the league was a challenge at first. Most neighborhood kids weren't interested in baseball - or in spending time with police.

But the league ended up with about a hundred boys and girls, ages 9 to 12. It has six teams, coached by current or retired officers.

The championship game is Wednesday night.

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