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Time in the 'pokey' aids Cops N Kids

Need hoped to be 'a one-time thing'

Police Sgt. Jose Dingui, at podium, reads the Cops N Kids ‘charges’ provided by his brother, Sgt. Carlos Dingui, to several ‘arrestees.’ Courtesy photo. (click for larger version)
March 22, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Three uniformed police officers raided last week's Town Council meeting to issue arrest warrants against more than a dozen people. Although some might end up in a jail cell next month, none of them will ever go before a judge or jury.

No, Southbridge did not suddenly experience a crime wave. All of the "criminals" were people who had pledged to raise at least $250 for the Cops N Kids program before a1920s-themed Texas-Hold'em poker fundraiser at 12 Crane St on Friday, April 9.

According to Monique Manna, one of the event's organizers, people have already donated or pledged more than $10,000 toward a $30,000 goal.

"I'm confident we'll have a good turnout," she said. "It's for a good cause and we need to support our children."

Specifically, the program has existed nearly 15 years, with ramped-up activity in the last few years, but lost its funding because of the state's current budget crisis.

According to Police Sgt. Carlos Dingui, it started as an after-school basketball league, but grew quickly to became a summer program with money from Project Bread. Eventually, state funding enabled the youths to participate in crime prevention and street law classes, academic help and a variety of trips and sports.

See Wednesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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