LAPD Officers Going Strong with Football Team for Inner-city Boys

Los Angeles: The Watts Bears football team may not be the most familiar sports team around, but it has steadily grown and blossomed into a dynamic and rewarding experience for officers and the inner-city youth who comprise the team.

Started three years ago by LAPD Officer Zarren Thompson, the Watts Bears was an attempt to engage at-risk, South Los Angeles boys away from the pitfalls of inner-city life into a football team; a chance to focus on teamwork, building trust, physical fitness and personal challenge. And the payoff continues to grow.

In the beginning, Officer Thompson literally went door-to-door to recruit team members.  He was often met with extreme skepticism by both parents and the boys he was trying to contact, even though the program was totally free and included team uniforms. Annie McKnight, one of the parents whose son is now an active Watts Bears team player, admitted she wasn’t sure if she could trust the police officers in charge of the team when she was first approached.  Gradually, however, Officer Thompson and his fellow officers were able to build trust in the community and get more boys to join the team.

The Watts Bears has been so successful that Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel of HBO Sports recently profiled the team. Thompson is thrilled with the program’s success and the way it has increased the boys’ trust in police officers.  “This thing is working big-time,” he says.  

To view the Real Sports segment, Click Here

Randy Simmons 5K Challenge Run, Cross Fit and Bike Ride

The 6th Annual Randy Simmons 5K Challenge Run is taking place on Saturday October 19, 2013 beginning at 8 a.m., rain or shine.  The event will also include a fitness challenge and a Police Unity Tour bike ride of 26 or 50 miles.

This event will be held at the Elysian Park Police Academy located at 1880 North Academy Road, Los Angeles, 90012 and begins promptly at 8 a.m.  For online registration please visit, Keyword: “Randy Simmons 5K”.

Police Officer Randall Simmons, a 27-year veteran of the LAPD, was murdered in the line of duty on Thursday February 7, 2008.  Officer Simmons became the first LAPD SWAT officer to die in the line of duty. To view more information about the event or on Officer Randy Simmons, please visit