A Surrey dad is praising and thanking a local Mountie who took a few minutes to shoot hoops with some kids playing basketball this past weekend.
It happened late Sunday morning, said Ereen Dizon, when his son and his friends were playing basketball outside their home.
“I seen two police cars stop in front of them,” Dizon recalled. “One of them stepped out of the vehicle and started walking towards them. I got concerned thinking they might be in trouble but I heard the officer ask the kids if he could play.”
“I thought, ‘This is so cool.’ They started playing the game, they split into two teams, my son was the officer’s teammate,” he chuckled. “When they started playing that’s when I pulled my phone up and started taping it as I walked over to them.”
Here's that video of the @SurreyRCMP Mountie who took a break from his shift to shoot hoops with some #SurreyBC kids. Father Ereen Dizon said he'd like to thank the officer for giving the boys a memory they'll "cherish" and "changing perspectives." pic.twitter.com/YvnzfXv7Fw
— Amy Marie Reid (@amyreid87) March 19, 2019
Dizon said the officer stayed for a “good 10 minutes,” and he felt the need to share the story because it was a “cool thing to see.”
“Most parents would threaten their kids saying, ‘Oh, if you get in trouble, the police are going to get you,’ but with something like that, the police officer playing games, it changes how the kids look at the police officers,” he remarked.
Dizon said he wishes he got the officer’s name, and would like to thank him for “changing perspectives” and also giving the boys a memory he thinks they’ll cherish for quite some time.
“It’s a moment that will probably never happen to them again, especially at such a young age. They’ll remember and cherish that memory,” said Dizon. “Even though it’s just 10 minutes, it’s actually a lot…. It’s such a good thing for him to give back.”
Dizon said his son Kalel and two of the other boys are 11, and another was around 13 years old.
“They’re North Surrey Minor Football players, those kids. They’re typical football players but pick up the ball in the off-season.”
Constable Brenden Vogt was the officer who stopped to play, and he told the Now-Leader it’s “pretty cool” to see the positive response the interaction has garnered.
“My partner and I were just there for a follow-up for another investigation and I just saw the kids out there playing as we rolled in,” recalled Vogt, a general duty officer who’s been with the Surrey RCMP for about a year and a half.
When his partner offered to write up their report, Vogt took the opportunity to hop out and ask if he could join the boys’ game.
“I thought it’s a nice sunny day, and whenever we have the time to interact with the public and especially the youth, we always like to do so and get to know the people in our city that we see on a daily basis,” Vogt said.
“I think it’s big to try and build positive relationships with them, I know one of the kids said it first when I walked up, they thought they were in trouble,” he recalled. “It’s funny but at the same time, it’s sad to hear they thought they were in trouble right away for just playing a basketball game there. It’s good to let youth see there’s another side to police. It’s not all just about enforcement and discipline. We’re just like everyone else. I think it’s awesome for these guys here that they had this positive interaction and I hope they feel more comfortable with police in the future. Whether it’s just coming up to give us a high five and say hello or I hope now they feel more comfortable with police if they have a problem they need to press, they can be more forthcoming and feel comfortable.”
Vogt said it’s something he tries to do when time permits.
“We’re all pretty good, especially the crew I work with, a handful of us carry stickers and carry around these little finger print kits for kids and they can do their fingerprint. We’re all pretty good at at least saying hi or handing out stickers and stuff. For me personally this has been a cool experience.”
Vogt said while he was playing he got called to another incident, and wishes he could have stuck around to talk more, including to the father.
“Maybe I’ll have to go back and follow-up with them there,” he laughed.