A Winnipeg police officer jumped in to help some inner-city youth in need of a basketball to play with.

After George Harper’s basketball was stolen, he and his friends were searching for a new one when Const. Paul Thagard stopped by Ndinawe Youth Resource Centre on Saturday.

When he heard that the kids needed a ball, he took went to the Sport Check on McPhillips Street.

“He paid half of it, and Sport Check donated it to the centre,” said Harper.

Afterward, Thagard called some of his fellow officers for backup in a game of pickup basketball.

“Figured I’d call a little bit of a police presence to help me out, in a good way, and shoot some round ball,” said Thagard.

He said it’s important for police to build relationships with communities. “It helps us to work together, build the trust. Communication’s key, right? And this is, start communication out here on the basketball court, I say.”

Harper appreciates the generosity. “It’s pretty awesome,” he said. “I’d like to thank Sport Check for this help and giving us hope out here, I guess.”