Yeadon police officer helps build community through basketball

To most, Officer Austin Gallagher looks like any other member of the Yeadon Police force. To the kids Bell Avenue Elementary School catch an entirely different vibe when they see him on the schoolyard.

The 23-year-old has made it a habit of participating in pick-up basketball games during the student's recess period.

It all started one morning when Gallagher struck up a conversation with a third-grade student who was carrying a basketball. Soon after, the part-time officer made his debut on the blacktop.

"I think we played three games or so," Gallagher recalled.

For the kids, basketball is all fun and games, but Gallagher knows that there is a deeper meaning in his frequent trips to the basketball court. In a time of tension between police and communities, Gallagher hopes that his efforts to meet the kids in his community helps build trust.

"Once we can develop that trust, then we can develop an open line of communication and get on the same page," Gallagher explained.