Syracuse Cop’s Basketball Challenge Earns Him Department’s Highest Award
A Central New York officer's outstanding involvement with his community has earned him a great honor within the department.
Syracuse police officer Brandon Hanks spent last summer shootin' hoops and buyin' shoes. It was all part of a challenge he put together to get involved with the kids in the community. He challenged kids in Syracuse to one-on-one basketball games, where there were big stakes at hand after just one basket.
Officer Hanks played the games in full uniform, including his duty belt, so he got the ball first. If he scored the first, winning basket, his opponent had to do ten push-ups. However, if his opponent won, Hanks promised to buy them a new pair of sneakers.
A few weeks and a lot of push-ups later, Hanks finally met his match in 7-year-old Josiah Brandon. Officer Hanks followed through with his promise and bought Brandon some new shoes.
"This little boy ruined my winning streak," Hanks wrote on Facebook. "So I took him to the sneaker store and bought him some new kicks. The smile on his face will stick with me forever."
One year later, the Syracuse Police Department honored Officer Hanks with a Departmental Commendation, the department's highest award.
The department shared its congratulations for Hanks on its Facebook page Thursday, noting that while the push-ups encouraged Syracuse youth to remain active and physically fit, the sneakers took on a much greater meaning.
"As someone who grew up in the City of Syracuse and played basketball in some of the most economically challenged areas, you knew a pair of sneakers was hard to come by," the department wrote. "What started off as a fun way to connect with the community, ended up as a national news story, reaching millions of people, and highlighted community policing at its finest."