NYPD Community Affairs Bureau hosts powerlifting and basketball event at J-CAP

NYPD Blue Chips won the best-of-three basketball competition against Team J-Cap.
Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

The gym at J-CAP, a bilingual residential drug treatment program for adults and young adults in Jamaica, Queens, was abuzz on Wednesday when the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau hosted a powerlifting and basketball competition for cops, kids, and the community during winter recess.

The DJs of Radio Hot 97 kept the crowd pumped and also handed out free shirts, cups, and bags. Team ESPN New York gave out free basketball cards while Reign Storm kept players and guests fueled with their energy drinks.

Part of the fun activities was a friendly tire flip competition, while the NYPD Blue Chips basketball team duked it out against team J-CAP in a best-of-three basketball game, with NYPD Blue Chips winning the series.

Radio Hot 97 handed out shirts and bags. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

NYPD Blue Chips, a year-round youth mentoring program, bridges the gap between police and young people and, besides mentoring, offers an array of sports activities like baseball, basketball, soccer, and golf.

Blue Chips players Justin Sanabria, Kes Luiz, and Adam Small have been involved with NYPD Blue Chips for a few months and thought it was a great program.

Besides the sports aspect, Sanabria joined to “have fun and meet new people,” while Luiz said he also learned to take his health seriously.

Luiz praised the officers who volunteer during their time off, coaching and mentoring kids in their neighborhood.

“I think it’s great to have other people mentoring you,” Luiz said.

Small learned about the Blue Chips program through NYPD P.O. Bonds, who coaches his team.

“I think it’s very nice of [the officers] to take time out of their day to teach us new moves and stuff. I really appreciate it,” Small said.

US Customs and Border Protection officers joined NYPD Community Affairs to show their support. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Malique Birmingham has been part of the NYPD Blue Chips program for a year. Birmingham said it had been a great experience and that it was more than “just basketball.”

“They teach me how to be a man and responsibility,” Birmingham said. He recommends the program to other young people because it is a “good way to spend your free time.”

“I think everybody else should join because it’s a good experience. You’re going to learn a lot; you’re going to play sports,” Birmingham said. “You’re going to have fun at the end of the day.”

Det. Tanya Duhaney of the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau of Patrol Borough Queens South told QNS that the NYPD has been collaborating with J-CAP for around five years, except during COVID-19 in 2020. The collaboration began with mentoring programs and branched into playing basketball with the cops and J-Cap residents to break the ice.

“The idea behind this was to connect with J-CAP members and residents here because they never really had a great relationship with police officers. So we wanted to change that,” Duhaney said.

NYPD Det. Duhaney and Det. Gatling check out the ESPN New York desk. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Duhaney shared that the residents at J-CAP get inspired by the stories the cops share.

“They love our stories because they get to see the real you. It is not Detective Duhaney; they see Miss Tanya. Everyone has a story to tell; no one’s perfect,” Duhaney said. “But the thing is, we just need to work together and plant a seed. And it’s time to inspire our young people so they go the right way.”

Ronald Thompson has been a clinical counselor at J-CAP for two years. Thompson is a recovered addict and a strong advocate for treating addiction as a disease. Thompson wants people to understand that addiction is nothing to be frowned upon.

“Addiction is like heart disease, like diabetes, that has to be really treated as such,” Thompson said. “So I am passionate about my job. I’m in this field to save lives. I’m in it to see someone come through the doors angry and then see that special process of them change.”

Thompson thanked the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau for coming out and spending the day at J-CAP.

“It was a great, great, great thing they did,” Thompson said. “I really feel good about what they did.”

Alsheek Relbert has been a J-CAP resident for two months. Relbert praised J-CAP’s programs, which also include educational and vocational training.

“[J-Cap] offers a lot of help if you want it,” Relbert said. “So if you go for what you want to go for, if you show them that you really want to thrive, it’s the best way to do it.”

The certified chef is working on getting an Occupational Safety and Health Construction Safety Certificate to expand his “horizons” and plans on starting a support group to help others.

“Because after the end of the day, you can’t do this alone,” Relbert said. “It’s okay to ask for help because it’s hard being alone. But it’s easy to reach out to someone and ask for help. There are so many possibilities out there. You just need to be willing to go out there.”

NYPD Blue Chips won the best-of-three basketball competition against Team J-Cap. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann
NYPD Blue Chips won the best-of-three basketball competition against Team J-Cap.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann
The action packed day included a tire flip competition. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann