Cobb County

Police Athletic League proving to be a good way to help curb youth crime in Cobb County

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Now that school is out police in Cobb County are focused on preventing crime involving young people.

They’re finding creative ways to help them stay busy.

Police told Channel 2 Cobb County Bureau Chief Michele Newell that something as simple as running track or joining a martial arts camp is preventing more crimes.

“Crime increases everywhere around the country,” said Officer Chuck McPhilamy with the Marietta Police Department. “We hardly ever speak about juvenile offenders. That population is growing and it’s growing because the gangs are trying to take advantage of our children.”

But police are trying to stay ahead of what the summer season typically brings.

“What we really want is for the kids to have something productive to do,” McPhilamy said.

The Marietta Police Department has been busy doing just that.

“The Police Athletic League. We have one in the city, as well as the county,” McPhilamy said.


Andy Hite is the chief of staff at the Cobb County Department of Public Safety and is also the president of the Cobb Police Athletic League.

A league that began with just a couple of sports.

“We’ve grown to 10-12 programs. We have football, basketball, baseball track, martial arts,” Hite said. “If we could make a connection with a kid, that’s one more kid we don’t have to deal with later on and that’s a beautiful thing.”

Martial arts are used as a diversion program for troubled youth.

“Sometimes depending on the crime, they can have the sentence reduced by attending the martial arts camps and that worked out really well,” Hite told Newell.

PAL is more than just sports.

“It’s not just ones that have gone on to Division 1 schools. It’s our scholars learning discipline, learning effort, learning commitment and sacrifice,” Vice President of the Cobb PAL Lennox Clark said.

Most of the programs are free, and many are year-round. Football and cheerleading camps start in July.

A number of summer programs outside of Cobb PAL are offered throughout the county.


Michele Newell

Michele Newell, WSB-TV

Michele Newell has been part of the WSB-TV family since November 2021. Before moving to Atlanta, Michele worked at TV news stations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Columbus, Ohio and Steubenville, Ohio.

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