sfpd_cityhall.jpgSan Francisco’s finest will don basketball gear Friday night as part of an innovative program aimed at getting at-risk young men off the streets and onto the courts.

The San Francisco Police Department has assembled a “dream team,” including towering Assistant Chief Jeff Godown – better known for putting captains on edge during public Compstat meetings, debating community policing and the sit-lie ordinance with supervisors, and fending off crime lab questions from reporters – to participate in Friday’s Midnight Basketball League event.

The Midnight Basketball League, begun in Maryland in 1986, is designed to deter young men ages 17 to 25 from drugs, gang life and criminal behavior. There are now leagues in 22 cities throughout the country. San Francisco began participating in 2004, and Oakland in 2008.

Friday’s game between the San Francisco Police Department and Midnight Basketball League staff takes place at 7 p.m. at Kezar Pavilion.

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