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SHERIFF'S OFFICE TURNS RUN-DOWN PARKS INTO FIELD OF DREAMS

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012 The Cook County Sheriff's Office invites park districts throughout the county to sign up their baseball fields for Sheriff Dart's "Play Ball" program before the winter season.

"It is important for students to have a productive, educational and fun environment to be a part of after school hours to prevent them from being the targets of gangs, drugs and violence," Sheriff Dart said. "By renovating these fields and parks, it offers students a place for activities that will teach them how to channel emotions, respect each other, be healthy, sportsmanship and most importantly, have fun."

The "Play Ball" program is designed to help jump start spring and the baseball season for the youth of Cook County. The Sheriff's Work Alternative Program (SWAP) completes a three-step process that includes a clean-up of all debris/garbage, first cut of grass and weed wacking, and then dragging and stripping the infield.

SWAP is designed to help reduce jail populations by providing the Courts with a sentencing alternative to jail for non-violent, misdemeanor and traffic offenders. The offenders are required to provide manual labor in lieu of jail time.

"It is very important for kids to be participating in activities that teach team work and keep them off the streets," Sheriff Dart said. "It is life changing to have coaches that make a difference and learn to play on different teams all the while shaking hands with opponents at the end."

The program has reconstructed nearly 15 fields throughout the county. To see the significant transformation, view the video of the Dixmoor field below:



SWAP is currently asking Cook County park districts to contact 773-674-3777 and sign up a park or field in their community that is in desperate need of repair. Actual renovations will begin prior to the start of baseball season.

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