A viral Facebook video showing cops playing soccer with the children instead of asking them to go away circulated the net since May 20. Officer Jordan Burke who posted the video, captioned this with, “Please stop calling the police telling us to tell children to stop playing outside. This will be the result every time.”
Morning News USA was so intrigued with what the Birmingham cops did that we decided to interview Officer Jordan Burke. The Officer was game in answering the questions, highlighting the need of paying these little kids’ attention instead of shooing them away.
He and his mates recognized a chance to do some community policing and the outcomes were admirable!
We asked him some personal, fun questions to let people get a glimpse of the man behind the uniform.
We also asked him serious questions on what transpired on that day when he decided to ignore complaints and play instead, and he and his mates’ current campaign to get soccer gear for the children.
The details are all here for the campaign in case you are thinking of helping.
What is your educational background? High school graduate with some college. However, I consider myself a lifelong student, always attempting to learn something new.
I have a stack of about 7 books by my bedside and another substantial amount in my kindle which pretty much follows me everywhere I go. One of my mottos is “If you’re the smartest person in the room… You’re in the wrong room.” So I’m constantly trying to improve myself and gain whatever knowledge I can.
How old are you? 25 years old.
Favorite sport? This may shock some, but though I play soccer with the kids, I actually don’t follow are pay any particular attention to any sports. (Which is almost an unforgivable sin in the great state of Alabama haha!)
Hobbies? Hobbies include wood working, writing, learning, competition shooting, and teaching (which I do in my other job), and when I have the time I like to boulder (rock climbing).
Are you fond of little kids? (Although it is quite obvious). I am, I’m very much looking forward to being a father someday!
What compelled you to join kids in the soccer match instead of heeding the demands of the callers?
The most basic answer is simply, the children were not breaking any laws! As for what compelled us, we saw an opportunity to show a group of kids that cops are more than just shiny boots and badges.
We live in a time where some parents use cops as a threat to control their children. Very often we see parents (who generally are joking) say to their children who are generally too young to understand “They are going to take you!” which results in instilling fear of the police at a very young age.
It’s heartbreaking to respond to a call, see a 4 year old that I’ve never meet start crying and run off as soon as my partner and I walk through the door. We want your kids to run to us, not from us.
Was it an impulsive thing? What was the thought process behind the decision to run and play with the kids?
We have been receiving calls about these kids playing in the empty lot, or the grass next to the empty lot for several months now. For a while it had died down, however since summer time is upon us, of course kids are going to be kids and they are going to play.
There was a group effort between several officers on my shift who decided that instead of us just driving by waving and asking them to be careful and not run into the street (as we had been doing a few days previous to the video), that we would instead be more personable and ask if we could play catch (which turned into a soccer game) with them.
Were you worried about the possible repercussions?
We took care to make sure that we only played either in between calls, or on our personal time (such as a lunch break). Also, our Chief speaks on serving with Ethics, Effort, and Excellence.
I believe that our action in serving these children and our community falls within those three pillars, and I did not expect, nor do I expect any repercussions.
Did you anticipate the growing admiration of those who read reports of your admirable deed?
I had absolutely no idea that something as simple as us getting our butts kicked playing soccer would have such a huge and overwhelmingly positive reaction.
Should more playgrounds be instituted for kids? Is this a project that should be tackled?
Playgrounds are good, especially in this instance. If these children had a field to play in, or backyards, or front yards for that matter, they would not have to play feet away from a busy highway.
But playgrounds are just a place. Children need more guidance and support. Today’s kids need less Facebook and participation trophies; they need more fresh air and dreams.
They need people to guide and coach them, to tell them it’s ok when they lose the soccer game, they need goals to obtain and people to help them obtain them.
I’d like to see less calls on children playing outside, and more of the community coming together to help make the next generation the greatest they can be.
Apart from joining in the game with the kids, what other steps have the Birmingham police department to care for the kids in the community.
We have a great unit called CPR “Community Policing and Revitalization” who take time to do specifically what I mentioned above. A lot of officers carry stuffed animals in their cars for children when we have to respond to particularly traumatizing calls.
Please discuss in detail:
“We are looking to get any sports gear to donate to these great kids (especially soccer nets). If you have anything to donate, or would like to help, please let me know! There are kids all across the Magic City who could benefit greatly from your help and support.” (found in Officer Burker’s Facebook).
What are you looking for? Where to give it? Up to when can people donate. And anything you want to add for the matter.
Any donations can be addressed to me and delivered or brought to Birmingham Police East Precinct at 600 Red Lane Road, Birmingham Alabama 35215.
We have already been notified that we may be receiving some new soccer balls, and so we are just looking for any type of sports equipment.
Anything that will keep kids playing outside and being kids. They all range in age from as young as 3 to 14, so anything helps.
Thank you to everyone who has given this story wings. These sorts of things are not new for the guys and gals that I work with. We try to go beyond and above all the time.
The important this is that we are able to serve this community and these children with help from people literally all over the world.
Everyone involved is leaving such a positive impact on the lives of these kids, and the lives of those in the communities we serve. So thank you again!
The pleasure is really with Morning News USA, to be able to interview such a honorable man, willing to do things beyond his calls of duty. We salute you Officer Jordan Burke, and your mates, who took the time out to “play.” We are sure that for the kids, your playing means so much more, because you made them feel cared for by police officers!
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