It started as a suggestion.
“We put up a suggestion box months ago,” West Point Police Chief Tim Brinkley. “It’s for officers who have ideas or suggestions about how we could run the department better or how we could better contact the community.”
Detective Sgt. Albert Lee suggested a charity softball tournament.
“We have all kinds of things for kids,” Lee said. “But I thought it would be good to go forward with all the departments in the city. It’s a healthy thing, a good way to get exercise for city employees.”
Eight teams have signed on for the event; the West Point Police Department, the West Point Fire Department, Public Works, Mississippi Highway Patrol, Clay County Drug Court, Judge Taggart Justice, Water & Light and the Clay County Sheriff’s Department.
Each team paid $50 to participate in the tournament. The $50 will go to that team’s charity of choice. All the proceeds from the concession stand will go to the winning team’s charity. Donations to individual charities or to the winning team’s charity can be made at the concessions stand.
Drinks for the concessions stand were donated by Wal Mart and food has been donated by Sunflower.
The West Point Police Department is awarding scholarship money to a 2013 West Point High School graduate. The West Point Fire Department chose the West Point/Clay County Animal Shelter.
“In the business we’re in, it’s hard for us to form a relationship with the community,” Brinkley said. “It’s not just here, it’s everywhere. It’s very hard for us to do our job effectively without connecting with the community.
“Hopefully, this will be a way to build bridges with the community.”
The tournament opens on Friday at 6 p.m. with the Police Department and the Highway Patrol on Field Two, and the Fire Department and Drug Court on Field Three. Public Works and Judge Taggart Justice will play at 7 p.m., along with the Sherrif’s Department and Water & Light.
The loser’s bracket games will begin at 8 p.m.
Play will resume on Saturday. Admission is free to all games.
“When we do this,” Lee said. “We’re asking for the public support of what we’re doing this weekend, and I’m asking any retired city employees to come out and support us.
“I’m hoping this will be a community event.”
For more information on the tournament, contact Albert Lee at (662) 295-5783.