The U.S. Embassy and the National Civil Police of El Salvador (PNC) launched the Police Athletic League in Ahuachapán in order to create and improve recreational spaces for children. The event was attended by the U.S. Ambassador Jean Manes, Director of the PNC, Howard Cotto, and the mayor of Ahuachapán, Abilio Flores.
In Ahuachapán, more than 600 students from nine different schools will take part in the preventative program that was inaugurated in the city’s municipal stadium.
The athletic league effort was initiated in Santa Ana in 2012 and is achieving positive results in each community, improving the relationship between citizens and police and preventing youth from becoming involved in criminal activity. There are currently athletic leagues in Santa Ana city, the municipality of San Luis la Herradura in La Paz, Usulután, and Delgado City, reaching more than three thousand students.
“We are working today to prevent violence and focus on you, the young people. As adults, we want to say that you are valuable to us and we want to take care of our children,” said Flores to the audience of students, “It is our responsibility as public servants to work to improve conditions so that, above all, you can achieve the future you desire.”
The program consists of the creation or adaption of recreational spaces so that PNC agents can give talks about violence prevention and personal development. Additionally, they will coach different sports including soccer, basketball, and swimming and lead academic and artistic activities after school.
During the launch, Officer Cotto noted that Ahuachapán was chosen to participate in the Police Athletic League because the department is one of sixteen places that the central government has identified as high priority.
“The Police Athletic League is one of the many efforts that the United States is supporting under Plan El Salvador Seguro,” said Ambassador Manes, “In various municipalities throughout the country, the United States works with the government of El Salvador to establish model delegates and assist officers in their community police work.”