by Alex Lloyd Gross
In Philadelphia, the Police Athletic League provides a way for kids to spend time with police. They learn things, play sports and for one day a year, they run the city. Sort of. Yesterday, February 26, 2020 was PAL Day At City Hall. It is a program where 40 kids across the city are chosen to follow city leaders around the city, shadow them as they do their jobs. They may attend meetings , give input on policy or just sit back and learn. Of course, the elected official who they are shadowing makes the final decision, it is a learning experience.
Take Andrew Walker. He got a chance to shadow the mayor. He wants to study engineering in school with a minor in public policy. Should he be the actual mayor, he would be taking heat for the failed soda tax, and have to bolster support for safe injection sites, while trying to find ways to get more money from Harrisburg and fund the schools. A tough job. It may be something he would want to do in the future.
Or let’s take a look at Freddy Morales, who got to shadow newly minted police commissioner Danielle Outlaw. He has an interest in law enforcement and public safety. During his tour of duty, he will not be chasing criminals but he might get a ride in a police car around town, as he is taught crime statistics City officials from the controller to the fire commissioner got to participate.
Some of the students had no idea who they would be shadowing. Others were told in advance,. The ceremony was packed with city officials, the kids and their proud parents.