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Police department kicks off kids basketball program

CINCINNATI (Brad Underwood) -- Cincinnati police officers are in action Friday night but they hit the hardwood instead of the streets.

They are kick starting a unique basketball program they hope will keep young people away from crime on the streets.  Participants are boys and girls from 10 to 19-years-old.  Friday they are just getting started inside the Cincinnati State gymnasium.

The pep rally kicks off the ten week program "Hoops Heart Hoop Cincy," or H3.  Chief Jeffrey Blackwell's H3 Cincy program is similar to the program he started when he worked in Columbus.  During that time the city saw a drop in gang related crime.

Here in Cincinnati it's going to be more than just hoops.  Life lessons on integrity and leadership programs will also be a part of this ten week program.  Local businesses are getting involved to help as well with food and drinks for the events.  Northern Kentucky University is also making an assist with a photo contest during the program.

According to Chief Blackwell, basketball is the hook to get these kids engaged and start building positive character with the city's youth.  As they get the program started Friday night door prizes will given out and even a raffle for an iPad Mini will take place.

The H3 Cincy pilot program will run for ten weeks.

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