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PAL Corner

May 1, 2016
Rick Bruce
SFPAL Board of Directors

Bayview Cops Work With Willie Mays Kids

In 2014 the San Francisco Police Activities League established a new program which seeks to provide opportunities for police officers and children from their police districts to come together at local ballparks and simply engage in pick-up games.  Dubbed the Sandlot Program, several police districts have participated in this new program, and the officers of Bayview Station will be spending Wednesday afternoons with the kids from the Willie Mays Clubhouse playing pick-up baseball games at the clubhouse diamond.

Unbelievable Views

On the very top of Hunter’s Point Hill, tucked away under a mature stand of eucalyptus trees sits one of the nicest baseball diamonds in San Francisco.  The field was renovated in 2005 and is the perfect size for kids up to around high school age.  Standing on the north side of the field, you can look out over the city of San Francisco and the bay with a clear and unobstructed view all the way to the east bay.  It’s on this field that Bayview Station will play ball with the local kids on Wednesday afternoons, helping to get the kids ready for their summer Junior Giants season.

Old Milton Meyers Center

Adjoining this great baseball diamond is a recreation center built in the early 1950’s that old Bayview cops will remember as the Milton Meyers Center.  In 2004 it was a run-down facility with an empty gym and not a kid in sight.  Local moms refused to let their kids play in the center, as there had been a shooting in the prior year directly in front of the center.  The officers of Bayview Station, determined to provide a safe haven for the local kids, established a police office in the facility and let it be known that this center was a safe haven for kids living in Hunter’s Point.

Boys and Girls Club

The personnel assigned to Milton Meyers as recreation directors at the time, were, to put it mildly, a bit underwhelming. So in 2005, the cops from the Bayview made a pitch to the Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco.  If they would take over the facility and establish a clubhouse, officers from Bayview Station would ensure its safety through their presence. It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen.  In June of 2008, the Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco established the Willie Mays Clubhouse on Hunter’s Point Hill.  Willie Mays himself was there at the grand opening, as were officers from Bayview Station, the same officers who were determined that the kids of Hunter’s Point would always have a place of their own to play ball,  do their homework, and just be kids.

Partnership Continues

To this day, if you walk into the Willie Mays Clubhouse, one of the first persons you’ll come across will be a Bayview police officer, in full uniform, and known by every kid in the clubhouse.  In the March issue of the Journal, the PAL article described how Commissioner Arthur Woods of the New York Police Department had established the city playstreets program in 1914, so that every child growing up in New York at the time would have a safe place to play.  This tradition continues one hundred years later on Hunter’s Point Hill, thanks to the efforts of the officers from Bayview Station.