Hi and thank you for visiting the Basketball Cop FB page!
My name is Bobby White. I am a police officer in Gainesville, FL. On January 15th, 2016 at around 5:30 pm, I was dispatched to a noise complaint. The complainant called to report that there were several kids playing basketball "loudly" in the street. I arrived on scene to find exactly what was described by the caller. Kids playing basketball. I pulled up, activated my patrol car dash cam as required by policy and exited my car.
I made contact with one of the loud "suspects" (lol) who was holding a basketball. I could tell by the look on his face that he was concerned with my presence. I assumed that he thought that I was going to make him stop playing. So, to eliminate that concern, I decided to engage him in conversation and began playing ball with him. Within minutes, several other kids joined in. Yep, I guess you could say that I added to the "problem".
After about 12 minutes of playing, I had to leave to answer another call for service. Before leaving, I told the kids that I had no problem with them playing basketball and asked them to try not to be too loud. I asked the kids if they play there everyday. They told me that they did, so I told them that I would be back with "back up" on another day for another game. I left with the intentions of coming back with some fellow officers in the near future.
The following week, Ofc Ben Tobias (GPD PIO) saw the dash cam video and posted it on GPD's Facebook page. By midnight that day, the video had been viewed a million times! By morning, the views were over 4 million! The video had gone viral overnight.
That day, people from all over the world began contacting the Gainesville Police Department to express their joy with the video.
In one day, I became a police officer who was simply doing my job, to some sort of international hero. I began reading the thousands of comments on Facebook. Most of the comments were thanking me for how I handled the call and stating that there needed to be more officers like me. As I appreciated the nice things that viewers were saying, I couldn't help feeling a little saddened and surprised by the fact that so many people thought that what I did was extraordinary. I can tell you that most officers that I know would have handled that call just as I did.
As Law Enforcement Officers, we know the importance of building relationships with the communities we work in by interacting with citizens and building trust. This is most important with the youth.
It wasn't long before news outlets from all over the world began requesting interviews with me. My first reaction was that I did not feel that what I did deserved the recognition that it was receiving and declined all interviews. After speaking with some of my fellow officers, I realized that this could be an opportunity to speak about my feeling of surprise that what I did was being perceived as out of the ordinary. So, I decided to begin doing interviews with the hope of getting my message out and hope that maybe I could help change that perception.
The interviews began.....GMA, Fox & Friends, TMZ, CNN, BBC, Sky News London, Fuji TV (Japan), and many more. Every major news outlet out there either interviewed me or wrote a story on my video.
And then something really cool happened........
Just a few day after the video went viral, the "Rematch" with the kids was planned. My team of officers and I gathered in the GPD briefing room preparing to head out to play with the kids, when the door opened. In walks Shaq! Apparently, Shaq saw the video and decided that he was going to back me up in the rematch.
The rest of the story has been well documented and shared by way of pictures and videos including Shaq's game with the kids and the following trip to watch the Orlando Magic beat the Altlanta Hawks with a last second buzzer beater.
I have no doubt that this incident has changed the perception of some in regards to how the police interact with the community, but I guarantee that it has changed the life of the nine kids that have come to be known as the #HoopsNotCrime Crew.
It wasn't long before basketballs and basketball hoops began anonymously showing up for me at GPD. This is extremely exciting. It has now opened up the opportunity for me to extend the benefit of this story beyond the HoopsNotCrime Crew. I will now begin seeking out and distributing these hoops to other groups of kids around the city for as long as they keep coming in.
I created this Facebook page with the hope that this story will keep developing into something huge that will help generate resources which will lead to many more complaints of "Kids playing loudly".
Thanks for visiting and please share the page,