Annual Cops vs. Kids basketball game set in Etna -

Annual Cops vs. Kids basketball game set in Etna

Trib logo Erica Cebzanov Cebzanov

Friday, August 9, 2019 | 12:01 AM

The Etna Borough Police Department is planning its 14th annual Cops vs. Kids Basketball Game on the heels of its participation in the National Night Out relationship-building celebration between the police and the community.

Thirteen- through 18-year-olds may join Aspinwall, Etna, Shaler, Indiana, Millvale and Allegheny County police officers from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Etna playground court at 2 Pine St.

“People should come down and enjoy mingling with our youth and officers — perhaps putting names with faces. It’s an opportunity to interact with the police in a healthy, positive way,” Etna Chief Timothy Rodman said.

Approximately 20 to 30 children annually participate, he said.

Last year, the kids won 48-46.

A winner will receive a trophy to keep for a year, and Etna will hold drawings for prizes that the borough, local businesses and nonprofits donate.

Participants may swim for free at the borough pool following the game.

Rodman said the tradition stems from some “friendly bantering” that occurred in 2006 between the neighborhood children and Etna police officers stationed at the playground and pool area. Former Chief William Grover and the officers developed the idea for a “teen day” event and added the basketball game.

Borough Manager Mary Ellen Ramage said that, through the event, she and the participants have gotten to know one another by name.

“They say hello to me, and over the years, have stopped to ask me specific questions about the community, things like “Is the trail really coming to Etna, Mary Ellen?” or things about roads or even bridges that are closed.

“I like having a direct connection to them, meaning not just me, but the community. The event has helped us forge a relationship with a sector of the community that we don’t normally intersect with. That is awesome.”