The Mesa Community College Men’s Basketball team and the Arizona Law Enforcement Outreach and Support (AZLEOS) will partner to host the first Laws vs. Claws basketball event on Oct. 1.
Wanting to create a one-of-a-kind fundraiser event that will bring people together, MCC assistant coach Jimmy Herrera was put into contact with AZLOES founder Officer Jim Hill.
Hill and his wife Cindy have run the non-profit organization, which helps with community policing programs around the valley, for six years. Herrera and Hill worked together and created The Laws vs. Claws.
Both wanted to create an event that is entertaining, would bring the community together, and help connect the public and the local police.
Hill noted the importance of events that help people personally relate to police officers in order to create trust with local police.
“People get together as a community and you get to see the officers out there in their gym clothes not their uniforms. You know, the uniforms can be a bit of a barrier sometimes,” said Hill. “It’s a completely different look when you see them without their uniforms. You see them differently.”
As for game action itself, onlookers will see MCC alumni against officers from the Mesa Police Department. The MCC alumni might be in for a long night, as this won’t be the first time the Mesa PD team has played together, said Hill.
“They go out and play in the recreational leagues…They’ve actually been having joint practices for a couple of weeks,” he said.
If the battle on the court isn’t entertaining enough, the MCC Men’s Basketball team will be conducting family fun games throughout the night.
“At the end of each quarter of the game, our guys are going to help facilitate games with the youth in the audience,” Herrera said. With last season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important for the players to reestablish a bond with the community in order to bring fans to the stands this upcoming season.
Doors open at 6 p.m. with tipoff at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door, and children 12 and under are free. Funds raised at the game will benefit both AZLOES and the MCC Men’s Basketball program’s upcoming “Fiesta Bowl Junior College Shootout,” which will take place in late December.