In an effort to engage more with the community, one Utica Police Officer is going one on one....on the basketball court. And he's getting some help with his mission from a former Utica resident.

Officer Dino Jukic is challenging kids on the court. If they win a game, they get to keep the ball.

If any kids see UPD Crime Prevention Unit car 27 patrolling and need a basketball wave him down. All you have to do is beat Officer Dino Jukic one-on-one and a ball is yours.

Credit - Utica Police Department via Facebook
Credit - Utica Police Department via Facebook
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Basketball Donation

A former Utica resident who was back visiting the area donated several new basketballs after seeing the Utica Police Department's Facebook post about the one-on-one challenge.

"We would like to thank Hector Hernandez for his very generous donation," Utica Police wrote on Facebook. "The whole point of our efforts is community engagement and cooperation, and Mr. Hernandez is a great example of that. Thank you sir."

Credit - Utica Police Department via Facebook
Credit - Utica Police Department via Facebook
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Syracuse Police Basketball Challenge

Syracuse Police Officer Brandon Hanks has been challenging neighborhood kids on the court for some time. If Officer Hanks scores first, which he usually does, the kids have to do 20 push-ups. It's Hanks' way of getting involved in his community, interacting with kids, and being a positive role model.

Photo Credit - Syracuse Police Department
Photo Credit - Syracuse Police Department
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Officers Hanks First Loss

If the kids score first, they get a new pair of sneakers. No one beat Officer Hanks until 7-year-old Josiah Brandon came along.

Photo Credit - Syracuse Police Department
Photo Credit - Syracuse Police Department
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NBA Donation

Officer Hanks' basketball challenge caught the attention of L.A. Laker Rajon Rondo, who sent 25 pairs of sneakers, through his foundation.

Photo Credit - Brandon Hanks
Photo Credit - Brandon Hanks
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Commendation

The Syracuse Police Department honored Officer Hanks with a Departmental Commendation, the department's highest award for his basketball challenge with city kids.

"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."

Syracuse Police Department
Syracuse Police Department
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Anyone 16 years of age or younger wanting to take Hanks on can tag him on Facebook.

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