By Amanda Moses
In the fall, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) unveiled a community outreach effort on wheels—a fully decked out video game truck for children, teens, and even young adults to socialize in a safe space and was coordinated by the Chief of Community Affairs, Jeffery Maddrey.
On December 3rd, the NYPD Game Truck paid a visit to Spring Creek Towers (SCT), where members of Spring Creek Teen Central and the SCT Young Adults Program were invited to play Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X, and PlayStation 4.
When the large, bright blue NYPD Game Truck rolled into the Brooklyn Sports Club’s parking lot, teens were already on their tip toes, eager to hop inside. Within the vehicle there were six HD television screens, each with a different gaming console along with a row of plush leather seats. Lit entirely by blue and green neon lights, the teens paired up and grabbed their controllers and prepared to play.
Gianna Westbrooks, 10, was amazed by the sheer innovation of the NYPD Game Truck. She gushed over the ability for so many teens to join together and play video games inside of a bus, let alone on the latest generation console the Xbox Series X, for her it was an absolute treat.
“I think it’s so much fun! I love Mario Kart, and my favorite character is Rosalina. This is great,” Westbrooks said.
Mario Kart, Injustice, NBA 2K21, Mortal Combat, and Madden NFL 21, were just a handful of the numerous games offered on the truck. In addition to a cozy inside experience, outside of the truck there were two screens that were set up so that a group of four players can compete in various Nintendo Switch games.
Officer Keaton helmed the bus with her partner, and she enjoyed watching the children and teens take complete comfort in the presence of NYPD while having fun.
“We facilitate the truck with the Community Affairs Bureau under Chief Maddrey, and we run the truck citywide, (which means all five boroughs,) and we have two trucks in the unit. Chief Maddrey feels that it’s a great way for us to interact with the community and reach the children on their level to help them feel comfortable,” Officer Keaton said smiling, “It’s a great experience. I enjoy the kids saying, ‘Can you play with me?’ Sometimes I join, but I’m not so great at the games, but my partners will play with them sometimes and they have a ball together.”
This event was coordinated by the Department of Public Safety (DPS), who shared that they wanted to bring some holiday joy to the youth of the SCT community while also foster a bridge between residents and both DPS and NYPD.
“Bringing NYPD Officers and our Community Youth together for shared interests, activities, and fun will break down barriers,” said William McClellan, Director of DPS.
Photos by Amanda Moses