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IRVING - Sometimes, students and school police officers mix as well as oil and water. But, now that classes are back in session, that may not be the case in one North Texas city.

The men in blue are putting time on the court in the hopes they score big off of it. The Irving police officers are each assigned as a school resource officer, like Tom Goane.

I've noticed when I see some of these kids during the school year, it is much easier for them to come up and talk to us, he said.

About 50 kids ranging from 10 to 14 participated in the Summer Hoops program, which is organized by the Irving Police Department.

The trick is that having fun allows the officers and children to get to know one another in a different light. It's worked for 14-year-old KJ Nelson.

I used to think cops were no good, but then I came here and I met these cops, he said. I was like, they are actually good and fun to hang around with and somebody to talk to.

Tom Goane is a nearly 25-year veteran of the Irving Police Department. He said hooping it up with the kids opens the lines of communication throughout the year between the officers and students.

Even if something was to happen in school during the school year, such as if we were investigating something, I really believe these kids would be more open to talk to the police, he said.

Officers say that makes the kids winners on and off the court.

E-mail: cflanagan@wfaa.com

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