Anonymous donor helps replace basketball hoop stolen from spot where officers, kids play together

MILWAUKEE -- An anonymous donor teamed up with Safe and Sound to replace a basketball hoop stolen this spring.

In a post on social media, Milwaukee police said Tuesday, June 26 last summer, while on patrol, Milwaukee Police Officer Joseph Spingola and his partner came upon a large group of kids and young men playing basketball near 35th and Custer.

To start a conversation, Officer Spingola asked if he could play, and new relationships developed.


Police noted that this area is one of the city’s "Promise Zones," where a strategic effort is being made to help residents find jobs, get access to resources, clean up trash and ensure public safety, according to police.

Over the summer, Officer Spingola would check back to see how everyone was doing, if anyone needed anything or had any concerns in the neighborhood -- and of course, to  play some ball.

Fast forward to spring of 2018 -- police said during a neighborhood clean-up event, one of these kids mentioned that the basketball hoop which had served as a gathering spot for kids of all ages around the block was stolen.

Officials with Safe and Sound came forward and indicated an anonymous donor had given some money to be used specifically to help a family in MPD's District 4. The idea came up to use the money to purchase a new basketball hoop, along with a heavy gauge lock, to get the neighborhood games back on Custer Avenue.

Make-your-own slime kits and other toys for younger children were also purchased.

Police said the new hoop was delivered on Monday, June 25, and Milwaukee Police Officer Matthew Bongel helped assemble it.


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