Los Angeles police officers will take on the city's firefighters next weekend in the Safe Summer Tip-off basketball game at USC. During the summer season many people are out of school or on vacation, and crime often spikes throughout the city during these months. This Tip-off event is a way to start the summer on a positive foot and gives law enforcement an opportunity to share an afternoon with their community, said media relations officer Sara Faden.
Faden said that both LAPD Chief Beck and LAFD Chief Brian Cummings are "active" individuals, and think a basketball game is a great way to demonstrate good sportsmanship and encourage kids to work out their own frustrations on the court instead of in other ways.
Comedian and actor Arsenio Hall will MC the June 9 event and other local sports figures and celebrities -- like the Clippers spirit team and Harlem Globetrotter Wun "The Shot" Versher -- are expected to make appearances as well.
The basketball game will be accompanied by a festival on Figueroa that begins at 10:30 a.m. There will be drawings to win autographed sports memorabilia, games, prizes and entertainment. People will get a chance to eat a free BBQ lunch while they check out LAPD SWAT team gear, fire trucks, helicopters, the Bomb Squad and firefighting demonstrations.
Faden said there will be community and health booths set up as well, including a dental group providing toothbrushes, free children's books and 300 pairs of Skechers sneakers to give away.
She added that the event is always in late May or early June, to catch kids before they get out of school; once summer has fully arrived, it's difficult to garner everyone's attention, she said. About 1,000 people showed up to the first year of the event. The second year that number doubled, and Faden's expecting to greatly exceed that amount this year.
This year's game takes place on Sat. June 9 at the Galen Center at USC. The festival begins at 10:30 and the game starts at 1 p.m.