Mayor Skip Rimsza


1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.

In 1974 the Phoenix Police Department began implementing the Police Activities League (PAL) Centers. The PAL Program is a nationwide program based on the premise of youths and officers building relationships through recreational and social activities reduces a youth’s potential involvement in criminal activity.

In July 1994 the Parks, Recreation and Library Department, through Arizona Supreme Court Crime Reduction funds, offered to help with the PAL centers. The department provided staffs to help with structured, supervised programs on a regular basis.

In the spring of 1996 the City of Phoenix Budget and Research Department conducted a comprehensive budget review of all City youth programs. As a result, it was recommended that supervision of the PAL program be transferred to the department. The transition occurred In June 1996. The department now has responsibility for the PAL centers, but actively encourages continued participation and involvement of City police officers.

PAL is a community-based program consisting of six youth centers staffed by recreation coordinators. The coordinators provide recreational, educational, social and employment opportunities for youths ages 10-18 years. The PAL program also serves as an early intervention program to street gangs and other criminal behavior.

PAL Goals are:

  • To develop rapport, mutual trust and respect between recreation staffs and Phoenix youths.
  • To reduce juvenile exposure to criminal opportunities.
  • To involve youths in recreational and social activities.
  • To provide educational programs and incentives to youths and encourage youths to stay in school and achieve academic success.
  • To provide meaningful employment opportunities for youths.

PAL Goals are reached by:

  • Providing frequent personal contact with recreation staffs in an informal, supportive environment.
  • Developing a sense of responsibility and accountability while providing opportunities to develop skills which allow conflict and disagreement resolution with nonviolent interaction.
  • Providing job counseling, referrals and training for youths.

The PAL Program provides youths with many activities during the year. Members are rewarded for continued involvement and program success with movies, water park activities, camping trips, out-of-state trips, and admission to professional sporting events. As members of PAL, youths build longtime friendships with recreation staff. This interaction helps with the development of youths as responsible and productive citizens.


City of Phoenix Parks, Recreation and Library Department


Cynthia D. Peters, At Risk Youth Division Administrator


Phone: 602/262-7383

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