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Harvard University police officers took some time off from catching crooks yesterday afternoon to catch fly balls with students at the second annual Student/Harvard Police softball game.
Over 50 students and police officers descended on the Varsity Softball Field to share scraped knees, grilled hot dogs and conversation.
The purpose of the event, according to organizer Bridger E. McGaw '97, was to build a sense of community among officers and students and have them "get out of their element and talk like normal people" together.
Divided into two mixed teams of about fifteen, students and officers came together in savage, no-holds-barred blood sport. And after they had their fill of charred burgers and chicken salad, the teams played a light-heartened game of softball as well.
The 20 or so police officers and security guards who came to the game all volunteered and were not paid for playing. Police Chief Paul E. Johnson and Herbert J. Vallier, associate director for finance and administration in charge of the police department, were among those attending.
Officers had a chance to get to know the students they protect, and students were able to see officers get down and dirty in sweats and shorts. Some officers brought their families and children to watch the event.
In 12 brutal innings, the blue team clobbered the red team, 26 to 16. Unsurprisingly, no bases were stolen while police were in the area.
Students and officers agreed that the game went well. McGaw, who also organized last year's event, said that the game turned out just as he had hoped.
"It was exactly what we want," McGaw said. "It showed that the barriers are really minimal between [officers and students]."
Officer Robert Kotowski, who played in the game and bagged several home runs, said he hoped the event would be held next year as well.
"It's great for everyone to get together and see we have a lot of the same things in common," Kotowski said.
"Sometimes, unfortunately, we've had bad situations," Kotowski added, "but we really do care for the community. We have a vested interest in it."
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