The first Wednesday of May didn’t go as planned for the Police and Community Athletic League.

Rain canceled the kickball game, but didn’t water down the anticipation.

“With the things happening across the country, I think it’s imperative that the police get out there and interact with the community,” said Utica Police Sgt. Michael Curley.

Stephanie Heiland, chair of Utica's Access and Inclusion Committtee, said plans for the Police and Community Athletic League began more than a year ago and she’s excited by the response.

“We actually got a lot of officers involved that don’t typically do community outreach events, so I think it’s gonna be a good opportunity for the officers to interact with kids, but also for kids to interact with different officers than they’re normally used to,” Heiland said.

Fast forward to sunnier days and Utica Patrol Officer Andrew Morinitti was ready to hit the field for some kickball on May 19.

“Oh I think this is awesome. This is something I’ve always admired about the Utica Police Department is how they build the relationship especially with the youth,” said Officer Morinitti.

Morinitti said he always wanted to be a police officer, admiring officers at the department when he was growing up.

“Every day you go in, you want to make the community better. You want to make the outlook on us, and the outlook on everybody else much better and build that connection and that relationship,” he said.

His son, Anthony, will be playing too.

“Well I really think it’s gonna be fun to interact with police and get to know them more and see their fun side,” Anthony said.

Anthony said it can be tough being the son of a police officer.

“Makes it a little hard because people can get judgmental. They think you’re the same way they are, but not really,” he said.

Anthony hopes more people will be open to getting to know their local law enforcement members.

“I really do think people should be getting to know more about police because the more you get to know them, the more people see they’re not all bad. You can see they’re people. They’re not machines," Anthony said.

The games allow more police to have opportunities to interact with the community in fun ways.

One more game is scheduled for next Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Proctor Park in Utica.